Asking 'who's the best drummer' is the wrong question

Tornado

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Nah, this guy doesn't get to redefine virtuosity. It does, in fact, refer to guys like Jeff Beck, Steve Vai as guitarists and drummers like Buddy and Billy Conham.

What he's talking about is incredible taste and musicianship. You can have that without virtuosity, and even have it in spades.
 

Houndog

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I will also add that anyone who lists who they’ve opened for in their resume , I automatically think less of their opinions.

Now if you were in the opening act on a tour for several dates that’s a different story .

Writers like this guy annoy me , it’s like they try to hard to be “cool “ .
 

ThomFloor

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Ya I'd agree the writer took the wrong tack by attacking other players in a negative way. I mean who does not think Jeff Beck is a great guitarist. One can be moved by some great Jeff Beck pieces.
 
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hsosdrum

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A musician's technique forms the boundaries of their style. After all, your style can only consist of music that you can technically execute. The more musical elements that you can successfully execute, the more musical elements that can be part of your style. If your technique on your instrument is limited then your style choices will be limited as well.

Taste is knowing what musical elements to play and when to play them. Good musical taste and prodigious instrumental technique are NOT mutually exclusive — a tasteful musician knows what will fit where. However, a musician with limited technique will have limited musical choices available to them, whereas a musician with more well-developed technique will have a much wider range of musical choices at their disposal.
 

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cribbon

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A musician's technique forms the boundaries of their style. After all, your style can only consist of music that you can technically execute. The more musical elements that you can successfully execute, the more musical elements that can be part of your style. If your technique on your instrument is limited then your style choices will be limited as well.

Taste is knowing what musical elements to play and when to play them. Good musical taste and prodigious instrumental technique are NOT mutually exclusive — a tasteful musician knows what will fit where. However, a musician with limited technique will have limited musical choices available to them, whereas a musician with more well-developed technique will have a much wider range of musical choices at their disposal.
+1. Excellent and clearly written insight.
 

Stickclick

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In my view, if we could all return to year 1966 we would not be hearing the harder rock big venue sounds. That sound was being invented in large part by The Rolling Stones, and the drumming of Charlie Watts.
 

hsosdrum

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In my view, if we could all return to year 1966 we would not be hearing the harder rock big venue sounds. That sound was being invented in large part by The Rolling Stones, and the drumming of Charlie Watts.
No, in 1966 (and through 1968 ) that "harder rock big venue" sound was being invented by Cream, and the drumming of Ginger Baker.
 

RIDDIM

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A musician's technique forms the boundaries of their style. After all, your style can only consist of music that you can technically execute. The more musical elements that you can successfully execute, the more musical elements that can be part of your style. If your technique on your instrument is limited then your style choices will be limited as well.

Taste is knowing what musical elements to play and when to play them. Good musical taste and prodigious instrumental technique are NOT mutually exclusive — a tasteful musician knows what will fit where. However, a musician with limited technique will have limited musical choices available to them, whereas a musician with more well-developed technique will have a much wider range of musical choices at their disposal.
- I'm with you on taste. It's all about playing the right stuff at the right time and dynamic level.

That said, having facility is great and is not tha thard to develop. Sit down with Dawson's Rudimental Ritual, or follow Alex Cohen on FB and try to last through a Murderhands session with him - and see how your hands feel. However, can we play more than we can imagine? In my experience, developing facility doesn't develop imagination. For that , we have to we follow the muse - what if I did this here instead of that? - and where it leads, relentlessly.
 

hsosdrum

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- I'm with you on taste. It's all about playing the right stuff at the right time and dynamic level.

That said, having facility is great and is not tha thard to develop. Sit down with Dawson's Rudimental Ritual, or follow Alex Cohen on FB and try to last through a Murderhands session with him - and see how your hands feel. However, can we play more than we can imagine? In my experience, developing facility doesn't develop imagination. For that , we have to we follow the muse - what if I did this here instead of that? - and where it leads, relentlessly.
True, but if your muse leads you into territory that you're unable to execute, it's the same as if you never got there in the first place. The good thing about that is that it points you in a direction to practice, but your style is always limited by the amount of technique you have at the time you're playing. That's why we practice: To expand our abilities, which in turn, expands our musical imaginations.
 

RIDDIM

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Then you develop the skill to execute.

Having a big vocabulary is great, but if you have nothing to say, it's not of much use. If you have ideas, you'll find a way to communicate them. In time you'll find ways to refine your expression.

There are tons of cats who can play, say, what Tony Williams played. There are far fewer with the imagination and fire to to take what he did and create new ground.
 

dcrigger

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Having a big vocabulary is great, but if you have nothing to say, it's not of much use. If you have ideas, you'll find a way to communicate them. In time you'll find ways to refine your expression.
Yes by developing a big vocabulary...

And how many can one conceive ideas that will exist in landscapes they have no experience in? Hardly anyone.

Chops and creativity - they are not exclusive of each other... neither to either have to be absolutes to accomplish incredible things.

True - the man with all facility and no idea is as useless as the man with grand ideas and no practical ability. This is where this argument too often sits - pondering the virtues of these two extremes that are both rare and to the degree they aren't, have no meaning, because they never have in affect... never make any contributions.

Isn't the debate somewhat pointless in that the winning scenario is almost always lies someplace in the middle - with the person with ample portions of both. Or reasonable portions of both.

You're Tony example is interesting in that - as Tony himself seemed to demonstrate, mastery of as technique and vocabulary, is a prerequisite to take what he did to the next step. And so, of course, there are few that can do that - whether that argument proves creativity is more important than chops? I'm not so sure.

Because to accomplish that is going to require it all. I just don't see how recognizing one as being more rare or important than the other facilitates the quest. It's going to take all of it... or all that a person can muster. Which then will add up to what they are capable of achieving.

If that makes any sense.
 

5 Style

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I agree... I've always felt this way but as time goes on I agree with this even more. There are definitely certain drummer who I love to listen to that have amazing chops and have a concept that allows them to play incredibly intricate, complex music. There are plenty of others though who I enjoy just as much who play much more simply but just have a certain vibe that is great enough that mazing chops aren't missed. To me music is a bit like acting and some of the best actors don't even seem like their acting... they just have a vibe that makes their performance compelling. They might not be the most versatile actors but when they're playing the right role their magnetic. Other actors with more training that play roles that have far more emotional range often get more credit but those folks can seem like they're "chewing the scenery" be far less engaging as they're working much harder at it...
 

RIDDIM

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Yes by developing a big vocabulary...

And how many can one conceive ideas that will exist in landscapes they have no experience in? Hardly anyone.

Chops and creativity - they are not exclusive of each other... neither to either have to be absolutes to accomplish incredible things.

True - the man with all facility and no idea is as useless as the man with grand ideas and no practical ability. This is where this argument too often sits - pondering the virtues of these two extremes that are both rare and to the degree they aren't, have no meaning, because they never have in affect... never make any contributions.

Isn't the debate somewhat pointless in that the winning scenario is almost always lies someplace in the middle - with the person with ample portions of both. Or reasonable portions of both.

You're Tony example is interesting in that - as Tony himself seemed to demonstrate, mastery of as technique and vocabulary, is a prerequisite to take what he did to the next step. And so, of course, there are few that can do that - whether that argument proves creativity is more important than chops? I'm not so sure.

Because to accomplish that is going to require it all. I just don't see how recognizing one as being more rare or important than the other facilitates the quest. It's going to take all of it... or all that a person can muster. Which then will add up to what they are capable of achieving.

If that makes any sense.
- I think it's a lot easier to develop a high level of facility than it is to develop a high level of logical creativity. There are tons of folks who can play the heck out of the instrument. There are not so many game changers.
 

Drm1979

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I remember being younger and thinking the greatest drummers were the ones with insane chops, like Neil peart, vinniePaul, Tim alexander, and Danny Carey. It wasn't until I got older that I started to realize what makes a great drummer is how well they serve the song.
 

dcrigger

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- I think it's a lot easier to develop a high level of facility than it is to develop a high level of logical creativity. There are tons of folks who can play the heck out of the instrument. There are not so many game changers.
Of course that's true - there are never that many game changers.

I just don't understand the purpose to pointing it out.

The game changers represent some kind of perfect storm. Perfect as in perfect combination of abilities (and opportunity). But never really require being the ultimate technician nor necessarily the absolute most creative either.

I just never understand the need to recognize the one above the other - or to focus so much on game changers - when it seems to me, that a player saddled with too significant an absence of technical ability or creative/musical ability is simply doomed to mediocrity. In other words, to be a decent player requires a smaller version of the same kind of perfect storm that creates the game changer.
 


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