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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know a lot of people like to rag on drummers, but there’s such a great feeling locking in and playing with a really great drummer. Let’s hear about some great drummers you’ve played with! Can be any style, not just jazz!


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I went to high school with a guy named Matt Smith and we played in a ska band together for, oh 7 years. We ended up going to the same college ( California State University Fullerton) for jazz studies where he switched to trombone. He was always SUCH a talented and expressive drummer. Anytime I had the chance in college, I'd have him play drums in small groups from jazz to RnB to pep tunes.


After graduation, he returned to drums to play professionally and get his master's. He is based in San Diego and LA in California and is a monster player. I miss the days where we would goof around. Being able to play ska to rock to jazz to pep-band stuff with him was magical. He brought tons of ideas and would always communicate with the group while laying down the time *just so*. You ought to check out his stuff, he's a killer. https://themattsmithneujazztrio.bandcamp.com/

BTW I don't know if that's appropriate to promote a good friend and talented musician, so if it is, I apologize. I miss playing with that guy.
 

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Bob Bachelor. He was traveling with one of the Ringling Bros, etc. units back in the early 60s. He would do out-of-time stuff for the various acts, e.g. trapeze, etc., while not interrupting/disrupting the band music.....just as smooth as silk.


Some outstanding jazz drummers I gigged with were Ted Sajdyk and Chip White.
 

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Warren Dewey, University of Louisiana Monroe, Don Wightkin, N.O.LA. Both fiercely GOOD percussionists. Don took "Seven Steps to Heaven" well beyond Tony Williams' performance with Miles.

Both are undiscovered jewels.

Can't forget NOLA's John Vidacovich, the MOST conversational percussionist on earth ( and a b*tch to deal with if you don't know your stuff. REALLY).
 

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I always felt that saying you "played" with well known musicians should be classified as "I sat in with", or was hired to do a gig with them. Does one tune count? Those Warholian moments stay fondly in one's memory.

Sat in several times with Mel Lewis & Thad Jones in the 3 Sisters Club. Sam Jones on bass showed me the way.
Played with Mel Lewis in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in the Vanguard. (one tune on flute)
Played a concert gig with Michael Carvin in NYC. High energy is an understatement!
Played with Eddie Gladden at several sessions in Newark. (Dexter Gordon) Got a lot of support from him.
Played sessions with Tony Inzalaco. Philly Joe style. (Buddy Rich when he was sick) and everybody else.
Played sessions with John Dentz & Chick Corea at a house session. Chick wrote a tune for him: "Swing, Dentz, Swing". He was a real swinger.
Played lots of sessions with Eddie Crawford (Horace Silver) Beautiful to play with.
Played in a working band for about a year, with Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart) called "Thursday's Children". Great rock drummer and he could sound like Philly Joe if he wanted to. (Or reasonable facsimile thereof".
George
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For this thread I wanted it to be any version of "played with" (live) so sitting in definitely counts! Or having in your band, another's band, etc. I don't want this thread to turn into just a favorite drummer thread, so Swaman you're on the money- that's a great list there! Must have been a real treat.
 

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I had the opportunity to sit in with Galactic in March! Stanton Moore is ridiculous. He rehearsed the band on a tiny kit in the green room, then I’m pretty sure he practiced in there until right before they went on. It was such a thrill!
 

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The drummer in my band is doing me a great favor by playing with us (Combat Jazz)...his name is Maciek Schejbal and he is a Director and instructor at the Drummer Collective in Manhattan and his playing is incredible and inspiring. He just put out an album, Afro Polka, with John Patitucci on bass (among others.)
 

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I can't list a 'who's who' of drummers I've played with, but I can say I've been lucky enough to play with some really great drummers, including the drummer in my own band. I've sat in with several bands with great drummers and in a local jam session where the house band always has great drummers (seriously).

As a general rule, imo the drummer has been the single most important factor in any band I've played in. And the bass player is right up there in importance, as well. Which is not to say that everyone on the bandstand is not also important. It's just that without a solid drummer, the whole enterprise collapses. Much like a house without a foundation. I find it almost impossible to play if the drummer doesn't have it together, simple as that. And I've noticed how much better I can play with a fantastic drummer in the mix. So I totally agree with Dave on the importance of a good drummer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I can't list a 'who's who' of drummers I've played with, but I can say I've been lucky enough to play with some really great drummers, including the drummer in my own band. I've sat in with several bands with great drummers and in a local jam session where the house band always has great drummers (seriously).

As a general rule, imo the drummer has been the single most important factor in any band I've played in. And the bass player is right up there in importance, as well. Which is not to say that everyone on the bandstand is not also important. It's just that without a solid drummer, the whole enterprise collapses. Much like a house without a foundation. I find it almost impossible to play if the drummer doesn't have it together, simple as that. And I've noticed how much better I can play with a fantastic drummer in the mix. So I totally agree with Dave on the importance of a good drummer.
You don't need to list "famous" people! I just want to give people a chance to shout out their favorite drummers they've played with- there are SO MANY great musicians out there that not a lot of people have heard of.
 

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When I was living in Boston, I hired Bob Moses many times for gigs in the late 80’s/early 90’s and he was out of this world! His energy was almost indescribable.
I also did a gig with Alan Dawson which I will never forget because he was such a special player and great person.
I also did many gigs with Garzones drummer from the Fringe, Bob Gullotti.
3 giants, in my opinion.

3 very different players and each incredibly wonderful in their own way.
 

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I subbed for about a month with Zigaboo Modeliste’s New Arkestra .... the drummer from The Meters. Gave me a whole new perspective on what a funky drummer can sound like!
 

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When I was living in AZ I played with the retired principal percussionist for the Phoenix Symphony in a couple of big bands for several years. Joe Gilboy is a fantastic drummer and vibes player who can play in any style and swings his rear end off. Plus, he has a super personality and a very quick wit. Great guy and I'd love to be able to play in any group with him again.
 

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The only name I have to drop is Butch Miles. Our college big band did a gig where he played a couple of songs with us. It was a tribute to Count Basie, held at the Seattle Opera House in early 1985. He was a stickler for dynamics.

It's surprising how much a drum impacts a group. My community big band just went through a drummer change. Everyone keeps whispering "dam, I sure miss Curtis". The new guy is adequate, but there is something missing. I feel like a good to great drummer is taken for granted. But it sure is obvious when the drummer is somewhere south of that benchmark. The whole band relies on them to not just hold the tempo, but to set up landmarks, add style, and fill the empty spaces. And yes, I really do miss Curtis.
 

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Mike Borja - played with him all through high school, and various combo settings at local gigs. Of course, this was years ago, and he's still going strong throughout central Maine, but we haven't had a chance to sync up again simply due to location. Great drummer and all around musician.

And +1 to having a great drummer to really lock it in and make the tune groove! It really is a difference maker.
 

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I’ve played with some great name drummers, but I have a weekly Monday night gig with a drummer named Mike Hyman, who played with Joe Henderson and Stan Getz.
Nice to play with someone who played with the two tenor players who had the best time feels I’ve ever heard.
 

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A few month ago I was late for a Big Band rehearsal (traffic jams!) and I had to put my sax together in a hurry to be in time for my solo feature 'Sweet Georgia Brown', that already started before I took my seat. During the solo I did hear 'different' and pleasing stuff behind me coming from the drummer. I looked behind me after the solo and looked in the smiling face of Anton Burger, a professional Dutch Jazz drummer known from World Wide touring bands like The Dutch Swing College Band and the Glenn Miller Orchestra (https://dsc.nl/en/band-members/anton-burger/). Anton sometimes plays with our band if the normal drummer can't come, he also played the gig we had a week after this rehearsal. Our own drummer isn't bad at all, but as a soloist you get a lot more response and subtle answers with a pro drummer like Anton behind you.

In Jam-sessions here in NL I also played a few times with Dutch pro drummer Maarten Kruijswijk, a very skilled player who performs with a lot of 'heavy' tenors here in NL. He also toured with Big Jay McNeely when he toured here in Holland some years ago. Like with Anton Burger you feel a lot drive coming from those pro players.
 

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Tom Stamper. Solid jazz drummer with a propulsive beat.

Kenny Wollesen. Endlessly inventive percussionist.
 

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When I was living in Boston, I hired Bob Moses many times for gigs in the late 80’s/early 90’s and he was out of this world! His energy was almost indescribable.
I also did a gig with Alan Dawson which I will never forget because he was such a special player and great person.
I also did many gigs with Garzones drummer from the Fringe, Bob Gullotti.
3 giants, in my opinion.

3 very different players and each incredibly wonderful in their own way.
I got to play with Bob Moses a few times. Great player. I’d heard him with Hal Galoers quintet with the Brecker Brothers.
You’re right. He has incredible energy and can play any style.
 
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