What Drummers Haven’t I Heard?

SKF NOTE: For a moment last week — a brief moment — I wondered, “Have I exhausted my lifelong study of drummers and drumming?” This was one of my rare “What drummers haven’t I heard?” moments.

I was scanning 1973 Down Beat album reviews. Many of the albums had drummers I had listened to — and liked — many times: Sam Woodyard, George Brown, Ralph Humphrey, Joe LaBarbera, Steve Gadd, Shelly Manne, Donald Dean, and Mousey Alexander.

But among the DB album reviews were drummers whose names or music, as far as I know, I never heard: Arlington Davis, Jr., Esco Cromer, Harry Wilkinson, Billy James, and Jean Louis Viale.

There really is always someone new to hear. It might be a drummer who is new in that he or she is just gaining wider public exposure. And it might be a drummer who — as with the five drummers I just mentioned — was recording over 40 years ago, and for some reason I never even knew their names until last week.

And that, for me, is one the best parts of drummers/drumming. Five new starting points: Here is a sample of the five drummers on the albums DB reviewed in 1973.

Arlington Davis, Jr 

Esco Cromer

Harry Wilkinson

Billy James

Jean Louis Viale

end

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