The Greats


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I Feel that some younger drummers might lose sight of past treasures. I am 27 so I am not REALLY old but I feel that we shouldn't forget about originators. I grew up on Beatles, SRV, Jimi, Sabbath...

Then I found Kruppa, Buddy, Roach, Bellson, Dom Famularo, TONY WILLIAMS. For a while I couldn't get over Tony's ride cymbal technique and how perfectly executed it was, I mean at high speeds. Or Kruppa's signature style of solo. We really can't say enough about Buddy Rich and Max Roach. I have listened to all types of music and played them too. I just don't want a CORE part of our history to go down the tubes and be thought of as "old people" music. Or music for "those jazz guys." I Don't even play in a jazz group but that doesn't mean Rich versus roach is bad. Let's realize to that drumming is older than drumsets and cymbals. We are the foundation of all things in music, everything is based on our internal time clock! Ok I am off my soapbox.


New member
I was thrilled to discover that YouTube has TONS of videos posted of the Great Masters! (why was Dom Famularo listed on your list, by the way... has he even played on a single record in his life? He's possibly the best clinician ever, but he's not actually a gigging player is he? I'm just curious...)

When I was young, the only way to see a master at work was to sneak into the nightclubs they played at... Now, All ya need to do is hit YouTube and VOILA... There are hundreds of videos of all the greats... what a fantastic educational resource.

Search out Krupa, buddy rich, barrett deems, Louis Bellson, they are ALL THERE!



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I'm only a senior in high school, but I started out drumming to some of those guys. My drum teacher Chris Adams, who worked with Gary Chester in writing his book The New Breed made me watch video after video of the greats playing, and I know it's helped me out tons.


New member
I too was blown away when I first heard Tony Williams. Many younger guys may not realise he was playing with Miles Davis at the age of 16 and in doing so was already shocking the drumming community with his prophetic playing that pointed the way forward for future drummers. Miles Davis claimed Tony was the best musician he ever played with. This is something because Miles played with some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, including Buddy Rich, Charlie Parker, Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Kenny Clarke, Dizzy Gillespie and a host of others.

Other players that are worthy of a search include:
Cozy Cole. (Cozy went into partnership with Krupa and opened a drum school in New York)
Zutty Singleton. (Check out his incredible snare technique on early jazz recordings.)
Don Lamond. (Didn't record that much, but what is available is awesome)
Louie Bellson. (Created double bass drum playing. Duke Ellington called him "The World's Greatest Drummer")
Art Blakey. (Check out the Jazz Messengers recordings. Blakey was kind of the Frank Zappa of jazz because he used his band to highlight new talent.)
'Papa' Jo Jones. This guy used to pull Buddy and Louis aside to give them pointers and tell them what and why what they were doing didn't work. And they listened! Possibly the greatest brush player.)
Mel Lewis. (One of the very best of the new generation of drummers after the be bop days)
Butch Miles. (Buddy Rich recomended Butch for the Count Basie band. 'nuff said!)
Big Sid Catlett. (Played with people such as Benny Goddman and Louis Armstrong. The top acts of the day. Awesome technique that was tastefully understated.)
Roy Haynes. (One of the forefathers of Be Bop. Played with all the greats of that style and continues to this day playing with the likes of Pat Metheney and Chick Corea)
Jimmy Cobb. (Listen to Kind of blue, by Miles Davis. Then check out the rest of his catalogue. Interesting tidbit: He's the only surviving musician from the Sketches of Spain, classic album sessions.)
Mike Clark. (People talk about underated drummers. Man, this guy is about as underated as they get. People who know, know who Mike Clark is. Do you know? Check out Thrust, by Herbie Hancock. And check his website. This guy's a freakin' monster!)
Al Foster. (Played with Miles for 20 years. As well as a host of others.)
Panama Francis. (Played with James Brown, Sarah Vaughan, Buddy Holy to name just 3 showing his versatility)
Joe Chambers. (Not only a great drummer, but also a wonderful composer. Check out his work with people like Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard. AWESOME!)
Sonny Greer. (One of the first to have a huge kit, including timpani, temple blocks, chimes, gongs... Check out his work with Duke Ellington.)
Albert "Tootie" Heath. (I never see this guy's name on drum forums. Which is a damned shame because he's a freakin' legend. When people talk about underated rock players, who generally get loads of press, it makes me think of this guy. Just look at this list of people he's worked with:
Wes Montgomery
J.J. Johnson
Tommy Flanagan
John Coltrane
Bobby Timmons Trio
Herbie Hancock
Heath Brothers
Jimmy Heath
Dexter Gordon
Tete Montoliu
Orrin Keepnews
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen
Paul Chambers
Kenny Drew
Sam Jones
Tommy Flanagan
Cedar Walton
Nils Winther
Percy Heath
Wynton Kelly
Barry Harris
Buster Williams
Freddie Hubbard
Rudy Van Gelder
John Coltrane
Heath Brothers
The Modern Jazz Quartet
Roscoe Mitchell Quartet
Tete Montoliu Trio
Anthony Braxton
Clarke-Boland Big Band
Cannonball Adderely
Joe Alexander
Walter Benton
Kenny Dorham
Art Farmer
Red Garland
Bruce Forman
Dave Ellis
Friedrich Gulda
Milt Jackson
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Harold Land
Yusef Lateef
Charlie Mariano
Thelonious Monk
Wes Montgomery
Tete Montoliu
Joe Pass
Nina Simone
Mccoy Tyner
Billy Taylor
List taken from Drummerworld because I couldn't be bothered typing it all out!)
Allan Dawson. (Took over the drum chair left by Joe Morello. Not only an incredible drummer, but also a great educator. His teaching method has been put into book form and is one of the very best drumming books on the market)
Shelly Manne. (One of the greatest West Coast players. Went on to make a fortune playing in the studios and became a night club owner and owner of a stud farm. Played with virtually everyone of his day who mattered. If ever you see it, do pick up his last MD interview recorded in the early 80's shortly before he succumed to cancer. He's one of my all time favourite players)
Jack DeJohnette. (If you don't know this guy, well you'd better get to a record shop and find out!)
Benny Benjamin. (One of the great Motown innovators. His influence is staggering. I've no idea how many hit records he recorded, but it's a hell of a lot. He puts Ringo to shame in this respect)
Zigaboo Modeliste. (If you can, pick up Funkify your life. The Meters anthology. It contains some of the greatest funk playing ever recorded)
Sly Dunbar. (The world's top reggae and dub player. Has a pocket so deep it makes your head just move.)
Buddy Miles. (Played with people such as Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Funkadelic, Carlos Santana, to name just a few)

Well that's enough for now. I'll leave room for others to add some names.


New member
Dale":we65ss8k said:
Zigaboo Modeliste. (If you can, pick up Funkify your life. The Meters anthology. It contains some of the greatest funk playing ever recorded)
Zig still plays with his own soul group in Oakland, of all places. Maybe he was trying to hunt down Garibaldi for stealing all his licks and never made it back to New Orleans. LOL

If you like Zig, there's a whole group of NO drummers that you will probably like, and not just Stanton Moore. Guys like Idris Muhammad, Johnny Vidacovich, and Jason Marsalis are ultra tasty. I think Vidacovich was Stanton Moore's instructor if I'm not mistaken.

Also, Mike Clark -- THE Mike Clark who played with Herbie's Headhunters -- has been in New York for awhile. If you're ever in town and have the opportunity to see him play live, DO NOT pass it up. Funkiest man on the planet. He's also billed as the "most sampled drummer of all time." Even more than Garibaldi, which is pretty amazing.


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Gaddabout":1yjt3t9m said:
Dale":1yjt3t9m said:
If you like Zig, there's a whole group of NO drummers that you will probably like, and not just Stanton Moore. Guys like Idris Muhammad, Johnny Vidacovich, and Jason Marsalis are ultra tasty.
I saw Jason when he was still pretty young, playing with his brother Delfeayo. He played a smoking solo, kinda blew the room away because they were playing this laid-back, smoky jazz and then he just started smacking. He was quite accomplished even then, and that was a good 15 years ago, at least~