Bellson Music Fest to rock in Rock Falls June 10

Rock Falls music fest — ROCK FALLS – The 2nd Annual Bellison Music Fest promises to get your toes tapping on Saturday, June 10 at the RB&W District Amphitheater.

The all-day event celebrates the life and legacy of Rock Falls native son Louie Bellson (1924-2009), a world renowned big-band drummer, bandleader and composer.

Hosted by Rock Falls Tourism, the event is being organized in close association with Bellson’s widow Francine Bellson and music director Josh Duffee of Davenport, Iowa.

Festivities kick off with a Drum Clinic by Walfredo Reyes, Jr. at 11 a.m., at the McCormick Event Center. Then, five bands are scheduled to perform from 12 noon to 9:30 p.m. at the RB&W District Amphitheater - BAJA Band; Josh Duffee & His Orchestra; Mike Conrad Trio; Starlight’s Theatre Blues Band; Walfredo Reyes, Jr. Trio.

Bellson was deemed “the world’s greatest musician” by Duke Ellington, and “the best person I ever met” by Tony Bennett, according to

“He performed on more than 200 albums with artists such as Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, etc. Vocalists include Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, and Bellson’s first wife Pearl Bailey,” the website says.

Film appearances in the 1940s included: “The Gang’s All Here,” “Stage Door Canteen,” “A Song Is Born,” etc.

“He served as musical director for his late wife Pearl Bailey’s concerts and TV show. Further, Bellson is credited with invention of the double-bass drum,” the website says. “As a composer and author, Bellson wrote more than 1,000 compositions and more than a dozen books on drums and percussion. A six-time Grammy nominee, he received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994.”

To read more about Bellson, visit

For more information about the June 10 event,

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

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