Required Listening for the Young Drummer

These songs are for inspiration and feel – not necessarily for the beginning drummer to cover (though some of them aren’t too far out of reach, and are on this list more to expose the drummer to new kind of music)

  • Dave Weckl – 7th Avenue South
    • This song speaks for itself – listen to the way Dave can seem so far from the established beat, but still be right there in it.  As you improve as a drummer, you’ll notice that you don’t need to count 1-2-3-4 anymore, it just becomes part of you.  You’ll start to intuitively know exactly where you are inside of increasingly larger musical phrases.  Dave takes this to the extreme.
  • Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take 5
    • This should be in any musicians’ vocabulary.  You’ve heard and played songs in standard 4/4 time, maybe even a few in 3/4 or 6/8.  This is one of the first tunes to hit the mainstream featuring a truly odd meter – 5/4.  Listen a few times and get a feel for it. Count 1-2-3-4-5 if it helps.  Now break that up into 1-2-3 1-2.  When you’ve got the feel, try to find other songs that incorporate odd meters and see if you can count them out and break them up into smaller feels.
  • Dave Matthews Band – Ants Marching
    • Carter Beauford is one of the best.  Here, listen to high hi-hat technique.  He uses a similar technique in almost all of his music, and it lends a beautiful chaos the the resulting drum line.
  • Dream Theater – A Change of Seasons
    • This is Mike Portnoy’s opus, in my opinion.  Odd meters, double bass proficiency, a survey of 100 different styles and time signatures, and belligerently solid drum solos.  Turn it up and enjoy.
  • Elvin Jones – Dear John C.
    • Elvin played with John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Joe Farrell, Jimmy Garrison, and a bunch of other folks.  The drum seat in Coltrane’s quartet was so heavily coveted that it’s hard to think of Elvin Jones as anything but the best in Jazz history.  As you listen to Dear John C., pay attention to how Elvin uses (and doesn’t use) his Bass drum.  It’s less a timekeeping element, and more of a melodic accent.
  • Led Zeppelin – Fool in the Rain
    • This tune has a phenominal broken triplet feel on the hihats, and the whole way through John Bonham seems to ooze ghost notes on the snare.  This is a rare departure from the norm within Classic Rock.
  • Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal
  • Paul Simon – 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
  • Pearl Jam – Alive
  • Pink Floyd – Any Colour You Like
  • Primus – John the Fisherman
  • Rush – YYZ
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan – Crossfire
  • Stevie Wonder – Contusion
  • Toto – Rosanna
  • Tower of Power – What is Hip?
  • Van Halen – Hot for Teacher (content warning?)

Get a copy here

Leave a Reply