4 of the Greatest Drummers

I’ve been enjoying the 3-part series Guitar, Drum & Bass on BBC4 commissioned by my old friend & colleague Jan Younghusband. Some of the presenters are better than others (Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads a real natural on Bass; Stuart Copeland gives it a good try on Drums, enthusiastic but not the full monty).

Of course it gets you reflecting on the greats so here are who I consider 4 of the drumming greats:

1) Michael Shreeve – Santana

[comes in at 0:38] He blew everyone away at Woodstock as a fresh 20-year-old.

2) John Bonham – Led Zeppelin

A driving force of great technical accomplishment – heavy as it gets.

3) Budgie – Siouxsie & the Banshees

[kicks in at 0:36] A perfect off-beat sound

4) Clyde Stubblefield – James Brown

[solo at 0:30] Funky as fuck

Bubbling under:

  • Elvin Jones – John Coltrane
  • Gene Krupa – Benny Goodman
  • Itamar Doari – Avishai Cohen

Itamar Doari with Avishai Cohen

Also of note:

  • Gregory Coleman – The Winstons (creator of the Amen Break)
  • Stockton Helbing – Maynard Fergusson

[6 famous seconds at 1:26] The Amen Break


3 comments so far

  1. theluckhabit on

    I think Elvin Jones inclusion is a certainty. I would also have Jack DeJohnette and Tony Williams. Not sure about the inclusion of Budgie (I am being polite). Of the session drummers, Jim Keltner is the standout. I can appreciate the solo brilliance of Buddy Rich without particularly enjoying it – apart from when he was on The Muppets. Art Blakey. Totally agree on Bonham. Anyway, first thoughts.

    • ArkAngel on

      My use of “great” is a bit loose – it’s about drummers who have moved, inspired or excited me (hence Budgie and that is very contextual).

  2. ArkAngel on

    My feelings about Buddy Rich are similar to yours – more admiration than enjoyment. I met him as a schoolboy at the Festival Hall and after signing my record he told me to go home and get on with my homework. His performance on The Muppet Show was of course the peak of his career 😉 . I included Gene Krupa in preference to Buddy because it was his playing on Sing Sing Sing that first drew me into jazz.

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