Ten Drumming Chameleons Who Can Blend Into Any Style

pjmariner

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Because let's dance was the first collaboration between Miles Rogers (co founder and guitarist of Chic) and Bowie and he played a lot with him/Chic as well...
Tony Thompson played on it as well. Both were Chic/Niles guy. I forget who played on which tracks. I am 99% sure Thompson played on the song let’s Dance. He mentioned it in Modern drummer interview.
 

Pat A Flafla

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I still maintain that metal is part of being able to drum in "any style" and I can only think of two greats who've pulled that off on stage or on tape.
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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No Vinnie? He's probably more versatile than any of those drummers, with the possible exception of Gadd. I mean, the guy's played with Zappa, Sting, Jeff Beck, MEGADETH, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Faith Hill... Despite my admiration for his playing in Galactic, there's no shot Stanton Moore could cut half those gigs.
This. Vinnie, and it ain't even close.
 

JohnnyVibesAZ

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Believe it or not, I'm adding Louie Bellson. He could play all styles of jazz, pop standards, Latin pop-rock, anything in the studio.
 

hawker

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No Simon Phillips? Blasphemy! No Vincent Colaiuta? Heresy!
To be fair, the second paragraph of the article does mention Vinnie. Publishers like "Top 10" lists because it sells and it's a quick read as opposed to Top 50. So Vinnie gets his mention before they even get to the Top 10....as he should.
 

funkypoodle

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You may have never heard of Dave Murray of Estradasphere. I have never seen another drummer do speed metal, free jazz, funk, country, afrobeat, klezmer, ska and doo wop (to name a few) in such a convincing manner. Honestly the most versatile drummer I"ve ever seen live, hands down.
 

Corbin L Douthitt

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I made my second trip in a year to one of the remaining Barnes & Noble bookstores last week, but sadly didn't find an issue of Drum Magazine. I left with four-month-old copy of Metal Hammer and an even older issue of Classic Rock (still worth the inflated U.K. import cover price due to the cover feature on Phil Lynott/Thin Lizzy).

However, Drum lives on in the online realm and with each passing year I'm a little less aggrieved about the time I signed for a subscription to the physical magazine mainly for the sweet Drum-logoed beanie hat pictured on the subscription card, but was then notified it was out of stock. They kindly extended the length of my subscription, but the lack of the imagined warmth of that hat still irks on cold days.

Drum did deliver something sweet last week in the form of its definitive list of the Top Drumming Chameleons Who Can Blend Into Any Style.

Without any more commentary -- except to note the absence of Judas Priest/Tears for Fears tub-thumper Simon Phillips (who I just noticed is 5 foot, five inches) -- here's the Ten:

Tony Williams (Miles Davis/Yoko Ono)

Steve Smith (Journey/Vital Information)

Omar Hakim (Journey/Miles Davis)

Peter Erskine (Weather Report/Elvis Costello)

Stanton Moore (Galactic/Corrosion of Conformity)

Dave Weckl (Chick Corea/Michael Camelo)

Steve Gadd (Chick Corea/Paul Simon)

Cindy Blackman-Santana (Lenny Kravitz/Santana)

Keith Carlock (Paula Abdul/Steely Dan)

P.S.: Personally, I'd add Ronnie Tutt for drumming behind Elvis and Jerry Garcia simultaneously... I'm pretty sure there's not more than one or two of us who could hold more than one minute's conversation with both Elvis and "Captain Trips," therefore I rate Tutt up there with the all-time greats of rock and imagine he's an incredibly cool dude.

10 Drumming Chameleons Who Can Blend into Any Style – DRUM! Magazine
hey left off The King- Hal Blaine.
 

Quai34

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Tony Thompson played on it as well. Both were Chic/Niles guy. I forget who played on which tracks. I am 99% sure Thompson played on the song let’s Dance. He mentioned it in Modern drummer interview.
Ok, you should be right, I haven't read enough Modern Drummer to know that. That said, I agree, I would put Steve Gadd first and would have thought of Jeff Porcaro too who is not on that list. But lot of them, I agree...
 

David M Scott

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No Vinnie? He's probably more versatile than any of those drummers, with the possible exception of Gadd. I mean, the guy's played with Zappa, Sting, Jeff Beck, MEGADETH, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Faith Hill... Despite my admiration for his playing in Galactic, there's no shot Stanton Moore could cut half those gigs.
If your talking about Vinnie Col i’m
in. Being an old guy and a 70s soft rocker at best, I’d never heard of him until you fine folks here alerted me. After watching him with Hancock and Rich Orch I was blown away totally. I’m the guy that started all the controversy by stating that “The great ones can play it all” I stand by my opinion.
 

FlowTom

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Cliff Almond
Chester Thompson
Mitch Mitchell
 

Cauldronics

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While Vinnie is probably more versatile, Matt Chamberlain would be a good choice for that list.
 

jb78

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I'm adding Brian Blade to the list. He's one of my favorite drummers for lots of reasons, but one of them is that he sounds just as good with Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell as he does in a variety of jazz settings.
 

Pat A Flafla

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I'm just going to keep reminding people that metal is included in "any style." If the title were "Ten Drumming Chameleons Who Can Blend Into Any Style But Death Metal" (which is probably what the OP means, I mean who likes that yucky stuff anyway? wocka wocka) then the discussion here would be perfect and easy.
 
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Pat A Flafla

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So, watch this and imagine anyone on this list but *maybe* Vinnie or Marco selling the performance of this tune (Arise) even 85%, much less a whole show. It's like seeing which Olympic gymnasts can survive an MMA bout.. at all. Hey they're both sports, right? Hey, it's all drumming, right? Floof-hands aren't going to cut it here.

Vinnie's the best at metal of the jazzy, poppy guys and he was just OK on that one Megadeth record. Understand the gravity of that comment. Freakin' Vinnie Colaiuta was just OK at recording metal. He really is the very most versatile drummer of all time, and he survived a metal recording date and people were impressed that he was OK at it. Marco can execute pretty much any metal notes, but everything he plays is going to be delightfully fun and quirky. The video above feels like standing in front of an oncoming Mack truck and then stepping aside for the thrill just as it whizzes by.
 

Rick

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I've gotta add my buddy Joel Rosenblatt to the list. Doesn't matter if it's fusion, latin, jazz, whatever... he just has an uncanny ability to give the music exactly what it needs, no more no less. There are guys with more chops (although he has plenty), but no one to my ear plays any more musically than Joel! I watched him play a live streamed jazz trio gig from NYC a couple of nights ago. Here's what I messaged him the next day...

Really enjoyed your performance last night! Just love watching you play and am continuously amazed at how perfectly you handle any genre of music. That was some brilliant jazz drumming!
 

Frank Godiva

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Paul Humphrey

Another Garcia band alumni and Lawrence Welk

He worked as a session drummer in New York for Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, Les McCann, Kai Winding, Jimmy Smith, Charles Mingus, Joe Williams, Lee Konitz, Blue Mitchell, Gene Ammons and the Harry James Band (replacing Buddy Rich). He later moved to Los Angeles and joined the Harry "Sweets" Edison group with Tommy Flanagan and Frank Delarossa. He recorded with Larry Williams and Johnny "Guitar" Watson and toured and recorded with Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Supremes, Tony Orlando, Jerry Garcia, Burt Bacharach, Diahann Carroll, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Bill Medley.

Humphrey was one of the drummers on Marvin Gaye's album Let's Get It On. He also recorded with Steely Dan, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Smith, Al Kooper, Jackie DeShannon, Natalie Cole, Albert King, Quincy Jones, Dusty Springfield, Jean-Luc Ponty, Michael Franks, Maria Muldaur, Marc Bolan and many others.

Humphrey was the featured drummer for the Lawrence Welk orchestra and Welk television show from 1976 to 1982.
 

Carlos McSnurf

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Generally best studio cats are best chameleons. To already mentioned names (Vinnie, Omar, Hal, Earl) I would like to add John JR Robinson, Jim Keltner and Kenny Aronoff.
 


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