musical drummers...who are they ???

the elusive it..... what drummers have it ??

Ringo, John Bonham, Keith Moon, Jeff Porcaro,Anton Fig, Dave Weckl, Vinnie C, can't put my finger on it, but they just play....the music...any thoughts ??
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Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Mickey Hart, Bun E. Carlos [original Cheap Trick line-up], Johny Barbata [Turtles, CSN&Y, Jeff. Starship]
Not sure I would call Ringo a drummer. Steve Gadd, Bill Bruford,Billy Higgins, Stu Copland just to name a few.
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Two completely different styles but I really like John Bonham and Keith Moon. I don't think there is another drummer who understands time the way Bonham does--he does so much with so little it is phenomenal. Check out "Houses of the Holy" for some great stuff (though any Zep will do!). Moon is the antithesis, all motion and action but it all seems to hold together. Check out "Who's Next" for some of his best stuff. For another take I like Stewart Copeland of the Police. It's all tight and contained but he uses all of the surfaces and cymbals to propel the music forward. Of the studio musicians I like Russ Kunkel, who worked with James Taylor, Jackson Browne, ETC. Love the drums!
for rock, Bill Bruford is at my top of the list "One of a Kind".
Also Pierre Moelen of Gong "Expresso" or "Expresso II" not generally recognized.
My all time favorite drummer is Jack Dejohnette.. the abstract expressionist of the ecm label..
to say nothing of the young Tony Williams with Miles or anything Elvin Jones. Oh yeah, Steve Gadd, well of course.
Mick Fleetwood found a way to match a rhythm for every song played by Fleetwood Mac. Subtle but right on. Not the best of all drummers, but one of the best pop drummers ever.
I'm going to have to go with Omar Hakim and Manu Katche. I also would include Jack DeJonette just like the above poster.
Ditto for Watts . . . his biggest influences are guys like Max Roach and the jazz greats.
A strong second on Keith Moon, Steve Gadd, Bill Brufored, actually everyone mentioned, also Paul Thompson, Jim Gordon,Jim Keltner, Daniel Seraphine, Phil Collins(check out Brand X), Mitch Mitchell, Ritchie Hayward, Nick Mason, Terry Bozio, Billy Cobham, Narada Micheal Walden, Lenny White, Johnny Guerin, Jeff Hamilton, Alphonso Mouson, and Keith Moon (yeah I know I already mentioned him but he warrants two more votes). I'm sure I'm missing several.....
Mike Portnoy-Dream Theater!
Neil Peart-Rush,
Simon Phillips-Toto, Jeff Beck, The Who, Judas Priest,
Carl Palmer-Asia, ELP,
Steve Smith-Journey,
John Bonham-Led Zepplin.
To some extent subjective criteria determines whether or not a player is musical. Poorly informed listeners and people with fairly pedestrian musical sensibilities (most people) will spit out a very different list of players than a voracious listener who knows s##t from shinola. Dave Weckl and Steve Gadd have way too much Kenny G. in them to seem interesting when you can listen to:
Max Roach
Andrew Cyrille
John Hollenbeck
Lucas Niggli
Ches Smith
Pierre Favre
Han Bennink
Charles Hayward
Tom Rainey
Gerry Hemingway
Paul Motian
Dannie Richmond
Ed Blackwell
Pierre Tanguay... and most of the guys Xiekitchen mentioned.
Ringo not a drummer? Ok, then, let's not belittle him with that title. Call him a "percussionist". You don't get to be the most effective, enduring, varied often danceable, and always tasty pop band ever without a fabulous rhythm section. let's not confuse showy virtuousity with musicality.
Terry Bozio, from Missing Persons. Alwaythought he was good on that album, just saw an article in Drummer magazine, he was also w/ Zappa, (and others), lots of classical training. Now has a new CD out in which he plays a MASSIVE drum kit. The pictures shows the drums marked with letters to indicate notes, so I think he's playing melodies on the drums. The disc is called Chamber. I'm going to get it from Amazon if I ever get off Audiogon!
I have to agree with Xiekitchen - the young Tony Williams did it differently than anybody else. He didn't just keep a rhythm, he flowed with the the music. Check out Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage. Pure genius.
How about one of the best and sought after studio drummers; Jim Keltner. Great rhythym and beat and never got in the way
Phil Collins has to be up there because he wrote so much music... but my all time favorite as a pure drummer has to be Steve Ferrone.

He may not be well known and has mostly done contract work.

I have heard him play live with Average White Band in the late 70's, then with Duran Duran for a stint (Notorious album) and then I lost track of him untill he appeared with Tom Petty live and featured on the Wildflowers album.

Although guys like Buddy Rich or Neal Peart can probably "out drum" Steve in terms of BPM or overall activity ...there are very few that can achieve so much feeling from drumming. Steve makes slight adjustments in timing that create huge feeling.
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Fabulou is hardly a way to describe a so called drummer who has a hard time holding a basic four four beat! The guy stumbles all over himself---it's silly. And yes Watts is even worse---watching him crossover from his snare to his hi-hat is nasty. These guys were in the right place at the right time. It clearly has nothing to do with talent.
Second on Bozio, his performance with Zappa on Little Snakes really exhibits his range. Let's not forget Ginger Baker, Nick Mason, Pic Withers, Erik Montzka, to name a few more.
Joe Morello with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. One of his best solos is on the longer version of "Take 5". Truly marvelous performance as he plays the melody et al on the set.
Pic Withers? Hahahahahahaahah. Listen to "Making Movies, he's nowhere close to being in sync. He may have gotten better after that, but in my mind, he's a hack.
"Musical" drummer?Hands down...BOZZIO! He does in fact tune his drums to musical notes. The best of these example are his solo discs.Hard to find imports or buy directly from his site. Just him, and musically awesome. At times, he his playing multiple syncopations divided by left and right hand/feet, sounding like two seperate drummers. You must hear this!
"Chamber" is orchestral music composed by him and played with a full orchestra and some rock instruments. It is an aquired taste, but essential if you are a Bozzio fan. IMHO, he is a living legend in the drumming world.
A few that were missed:

Ainsley Dunbar (Zappa), Danny Seraphine (Chicago), Stewart Copeland (Police), Jeff Porcaro (Toto)
Oh, and another Zappa alumni...Chad Wackerman. He writes his own stuff which is very fusion oriented. I am a little biased here since my son studied under Chad's father, Chuck Wackerman, while playing in the Los Alamitos HS Jazz band. A great teacher, who has 3 sons that are proffessional drummers. Youngest son Brooks Wackerman has done work with Danny Elfman and an extended stint with "Suicidal Tendancies" amoung others.
My favorite drummer Chad Wackerman.
here's some more Steve Smith, Kirk Covington.
I didn't see him mentioned, maybe I missed it. There are lots of good drummers mentioned already BUT Cozy Powell did some great work with Rainbow and later with someone else that I can't think of now. During the 70's Barriemore Barlow was an outstanding drummer for Jethro Tull.

I'm not sure about the 'musical' part. Rythmn is part of music, but is it musical?
I haven't seen anyone mention Lee Kerslake ( Uriah Heep and Ozzy's Blizzard of Oz) or Dave Holland ( Trapeze and Judas Priest). Or for that matter Jim Keltner either.
Dave Mattacks and Gerry Conway.......Jethro Tull, Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention alums.
Alot of greats already mentioned but Antonio Sanchez of the Pat Metheny Group currently gets my vote.
Favorites around here who meet that description include Cozy Cole back in the 30s and Danny Richmond (Charles Mingus' long time drummer) -- and another vote for Jim Keltner, Tony Williams and Gene Krupa.
Jack DeJohnette
Chad Wackerman
Phil Collins
John Bonham
Steve Gadd
Bill Bruford
Alan White
bj wilson of procol harum(maybe the unsung greatest rock drummer )the dynamic dino dinnelli of the rascals. 'strangley' enough, john densmore of the doors and the cardboard coolness of michael clarke of the the byrds/burritos/firefall.....the immortal charlie watts
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I figured I would be the first to mention B. J. Wilson, but Jaybo, you beat me to it. Right at the top, from the rock genre, in terms of using the drums for dramatic color. I'm glad someone stuck up for Ringo. I think he was an excellent drummer, very musicianly. Many times (not in this thread) I've heard people diss him in favor of his contemporary, Charlie Watts. That, I don't get.
Must also jump to Ringo's defense - yes, he is fabulous (or fab). Perhaps he does not have the technical skills many others have. I do remember hearing him admit as much in an interview, that part of his sound comes from his difficulty in moving around his drum kit. However, as TVAD points out, this is not about the drummer with the best chops, but the most musical ones, and on this count, Ringo's work with the Beatles qualifies him. His drumming had a minimalist yet explosive sound, in which every hit counted, and was a major part of the sound of the band. His style (and the style of fellow rhythm-section member Paul) was a distinctive part of the band's sound, different from any other band's and did not hide behind the guitars and vocals. It is rare to hear someone play like he did, and when I hear that style, I think "Oh, someone's trying to sound like the beatles". If you accept the Beatles music as great, then you must accept Ringo as a great musical drummer. You may make a convincing case that he's a technical oaf, but the music worked.
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Billy Higgins was the most musical drummer I've heard. I've never seen another drummer who could match riffs with other musicians as well as him.
I think that drummers who can carrie a melody:

Bruford, Simon Phillips (who also recorded with Mike Oldfield and Jon Anderson), Stewart Copeland, Phil Collins back in the day..Billy Cobham can, but in acoustical jazz he tends to overhit.

the young drummer called Thomas Lang