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The Best Jazz Drummers Of All Time

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The Best Jazz Drummers Of All Time

It was a triumph for  Damien Chazelle when the unusually low budget movie, Whiplash, got nominated for the Oscars. The film focuses on the intense relationship between a budding drummer and his teacher who pushes him to his saturation limit. The movie generated a buzz among the viewers and revitalised the prominence of drums and jazz in music. This unique combination has seen a host of fantastic performers.

An integral part of jazz is the swing feel, and drummers are often the ones stoking that fire. While the saxophonists, trumpeters, pianists and guitarists get their fair share of attention, the importance of a great drummer can't be understated in the combo or big band setting. Although, there are a number of outstanding players worth inclusion, these are the five notes jazz drummers of all time.

Buddy Rich ­

Hailed as the best drummer of all time, Buddy Rich didn't receive any formal training. It is said he never practised at all and could not even read music. He was infamous for his temper on stage, occasionally hurling abuses at fellow accompanists and the choir for not being able to keep up with his genius.

Art Blakley­

The pioneer of Bop drumming in the 40’s and 50’s. 'A Night in Tunisia' composer performed with Jazz legends like Miles Davis, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. Though a heavyweight in his own right, he was known to promote young talents like Lee Morgan and Wayne Shorter.

Roy Hanes ­

One of the most recorded drummers in history, Hanes performed with the likes of Charlie Parker and Lester Young. He also occasionally subbed for Elvin Jones in John Coltrane’s quartet. Hanes also recorded albums with Thelonious Monk, Stan Getz and Pat Metheny.

Elvin Jones ­

The master of polyrhythms, Elvin Jones has been hailed as one of the most powerful drummers of all time. The legendary musician worked on a number of albums with John Coltrane’s quartet. His power and energy has become iconic and it has been analyzed by students all over the world.

Gene Krupa ­

The first ever inductee into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, Krupa single-handedly brought his instrument to the forefront. His drumming in the Benny Goodman song, ‘Sing, Sing, Sing,’ has been regarded as one of the best-extended drum solo on record.