Alex Torjussen (Rumer, Lucy Spraggan, Max Milner)
The Rhythm Best of Drums 2015 polls have received over 102,000 votes, and we're now ready to roll out the winners. The nominees were what we considered to be the drummers and gear that have excelled in 2015. Here, we present the Best Pop/Session Drummer. First up we have Alex Torjussen…
2015 Highlight: The London-based freelancer is fast becoming one of the UK’s top young session players, thanks to gigs with Rumer, Lucy Spraggan, Max Milner and depping for Ash Soan with Trevor Horn and Seal. This year, Alex has been busy with a string of live dates backing James Morrison, Will Young, and Rumer. Not bad for a guy who’s not yet 24!
Andy Gangadeen (Chase & Status)
2015 Highlight: A pioneer of hybrid drumming and live performance dance music, Andy’s regular gig is with Chase & Status, but he's a dab hand at production too and has a finger in every electronic music pie. Andy’s company 101 Artists has a roster that currently includes some of the year's biggest successes, including Clean Bandit, Gorgon City, Years and Years and Rudimental, all of whom benefit from his dance drumming expertise. In addition, Andy, alongside Chad Smith and Queen’s Roger Taylor, got onboard with Spitfire Audio to record tracks for their The Grange pack, recorded in the hallowed ‘Levee Breaks' stairwell of Headley Grange.
Ian Thomas (Mark Knopfler etc)
2015 Highlight: Ian is one of the UK’s most versatile drummers, with a CV that has for the last 30 years taken in everything from jazz to pop, TV jingles and movie soundtracks. He's a house band regular at Ronnie Scotts, and his current regular gig is with former Dire Straits man Mark Knopfler – this year Ian graced Knopfler’s Tracker album.
Brian Frasier-Moore (Madonna)
2015 Highlight: As close to a superstar as a session drummer can be, Brian’s already built up a stellar reputation for his gospel-infused chops and ability to steer the biggest of pop gigs, including Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera. Brian currently holds down the drum gig with Her Madge, Madonna –2015’s Rebel Heart tour is his third worldwide tour with the pop superstar. Quite simply, gigs just don't get any bigger…
Jeremy Stacey (Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds)
2015 Highlight: The Brit session ace’s packed CV includes Noel Gallagher, Sheryl Crow, Echo And The Bunnymen, Ryan Adams, Roger Daltrey, Benmont Tench and more. And another busy year for Jeremy has seen him play on Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ new album, the excellent Chasing Yesterday, as well as record with Welsh crooner Tom Jones.
Matt Chamberlain (Soundgarden etc)
2015 Highlight: Matt has worked with everyone from Elton John to David Bowie, Stevie Nicks to Kanye West… and replaced Matt Cameron in Soundgarden when Matt went off with Pearl Jam. On top of his Soundgarden commitments, Matt has continued to push the boundaries of versatility in drumming, with gigs with Chris Isaak, Chris Cornell, Keith Urban and Steven Tyler, and dates playing drums on the Sons Of Anarchy and Frozen Fever soundtracks.
Ralph Salmins (The Waterboys, etc)
2015 Highlight: Ralph is one of Britain’s most accomplished and in-demand drummers, having played on records by Bjork and Robbie Williams, appeared on hundreds of movie soundtracks, and performed with, well, everyone. As at-home on a pop session as a jazz date, Ralph’s versatility knows no bounds. This year he's been as busy as ever with movie soundtracks, including Terminator Genysis, and touring with his regular gig, The Waterboys.
Ash Soan (This Oceanic Feeling, The Voice)
2015 Highlight: Ash’s CV reads like a Who’s Who of pop. He played on Adele’s 21, and has worked with everyone from Cee-Lo Green to Trevor Horn to Robbie Williams. Unsurprisingly, he's had another busy year… In 2015 Ash has laid down drum tracks for Ronan Keating, Take That, James Morrison and Seal, donned his jazz fusion hat for a forthcoming album alongside Vinnie Colaiuta, played on the Terminator Genysis soundtrack and put out an album with his band This Oceanic Feeling, which, by the way, was great. And that's on top of his gig as part of The Voice’s band.
Josh Devine (One Direction)
2015 Highlight: Don't let the screaming pre-teen following the 1D boys have picked up over the last few years fool you, behind the songs are pop musicians of the highest calibre, including drummer Josh Devine. With a brand new album out, Made In The AM, the One Direction boys have had another busy year, with their mega headling Back On The Road tour requiring as always a top-of-his-game performance from the band’s drummer Josh Devine.
WINNER: Karl Brazil (Robbie Williams)
2015 Highlight: A long-time favourite of Rhythm readers, Karl’s proved himself a versatile and canny player on countless pop sessions in the last few years, and a more than capable MD for Aussie teen pop band 5 Seconds Of Summer… but it's his long-time pop gig with Robbie Williams that wins it for him here. And of course, it helps having Robbie on-side…