Drummers have long been the brunt of gags, with many focusing on their alleged dearth of musicianship and questionable time-keeping abilities. However, a band can only be as great as its percussionist, and the famous jazz drummer can suddenly convert a mediocre ensemble into a halfway respectable one.
Because of the complexity of the music, the finest jazz drummers must be excellent technologists, and if you’ve watched the award-winning 2014 film Whiplash, you’ll know that they don’t have it easy.
So, here comes the list of the 12 best jazz drummer of all time
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12. Philly Joe Jones (1923-1985)
This Pennsylvania tub-thumper, not to be confused with big band swing drummer Jo Jones, was a prolific sideman who was known for banging on his drum kit exceedingly loudly.
He’s best known as the drummer who gave the Miles Davis Quintet a powerful swing feel and effervescent energy in the late 1950s. The famous jazz drummer ever.
11. Chico Hamilton (1921-2013)
This LA-based one-man drum ensemble was a forerunner of the cool West Coast sound. He, like Art Blakey, led from the front and was a great talent finder. He utilized drums like a painter, shading his music with varied tonal hues, able to mix force with elegance and subtle sensitivity.
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10. Shelly Manne (1920-1984)
Shelly Manne’s other name can be versatility. With the ability to transition from swing, bebop, and even Dixieland to more experimental jazz genres at the drop of a drumstick, it’s no surprise that he’s played on a slew of Hollywood films and television soundtracks.
His one-of-a-kind technique reflected his many influences, and he masterfully employed music to communicate a wide range of moods and feelings. The famous jazz drummer ever.
9. Jo Jones (1911-1985)
Between 1934 and 1948, this inventive Windy City drummer (also known as “Papa” Jo Jones) was a key member of Count Basie’s band, and his prominent use of the hi-hat to keep time set the standard for big-band jazz drumming (before that, the bass drum had been used for that purpose). He was also the first to utilize brushes on softer, slower tunes.
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8. Louis Hayes (1937)
This Detroit drummer’s career began in the late 50s when he recorded with Horace Silver, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderley. Hayes’ specialty is his ability to provide a hard-swinging, free-flowing rhythm track that is sensitive to the needs of the soloists.
7. Gene Krupa (1909-1973)
Big-band swing meister Gene Krupa may claim to have impacted the format of the contemporary drum kit as the first stick man to employ a bass drum on a recording session.
He was also responsible for the rise in popularity of cymbals and tom-toms. Buddy Rich’s “drum fights” with him are legendary. The famous jazz drummer ever.
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6. Buddy Rich (1917-1987)
Bernard “Buddy” Rich was a jazz drummer who was known for his flamboyance. Also, he was known for his speed, strength, and primitive sense of swing, and he would flaunt his enormous talent by playing long drum solos that foreshadowed rock music.
5. Kenny Clarke (1914-1985)
The Pittsburgh-born Clarke (a founding member of The Modern Jazz Quartet) was one of the greatest jazz drummers in the genre’s early beginnings and was known as Klook. One of the most famous jazz drummers ever.
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4. Elvin Jones (1927-2004)
Jones emerged to prominence in the early 1960s as part of John Coltrane’s pioneering quartet, where he was quickly recognized for the dynamic forcefulness of his drumming.
He had finesse and knew how to build a sophisticated rhythm track that flowed and was highly attentive to the demands of a song, in addition to raw strength.
3. Max Roach (1924-2007)
Roach became one of bebop’s first notable drummers in the late 1940s. One of his signature moves was to highlight the rhythmic pulse with the ride cymbal, which was a groundbreaking invention that gave jazz greater fluidity and a more delicate swing.
He developed into an expressive stickman – one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time – who used his drum kit to produce various tonalities to highlight different aspects of a song during a performance.
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2. Tony Williams (1945-1997)
Tony Williams, despite his little size, was unquestionably one of the genuine titans of jazz drumming. With his complex patterns and precise rhythmic displacements, he began performing with Miles Davis at the age of 17 and immediately became known as a pioneer.
He was also incredibly flexible, capable of playing fusion and rock as well as straight-ahead jazz. One of the most famous jazz drummers ever.
1. Art Blakey (1919-1990)
Art Blakey was a one-man engine room with a superb sense of swing and syncopation, and he was a polyrhythmic percussion dynamo who propelled his long-running ensemble, The Jazz Messengers.
He was a charismatic bandleader as well as a drummer, and his hallmark was the swelling press roll, which he utilized to infuse turbo-charged energy into his driving hard-bop grooves.
These are the top Jazz drummer of all time