I meet Louis at an Ellington convention and hung out for a bit, and he gave me a pair of sticks. What a good guy and what a great player!Around 1965 I saw a "drum summit" with Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, Louis Bellson, Mel Lewis & Jo Jones all set up, one kit next to the other, across the stage. Each guy did a long drum solo and also played a couple of tunes with a combo. They were all phenomenal, of course, though the guy who knocked us out the most that night was Blakey. Bellson was pretty amazing too, demonstrating playing a different time signature with each limb (on his double bass drum set).
But I did always have a soft spot for Animal's playing.