9. Kaz Rodriguez
The Rhythm Best in drums 2017 polls have received over 137,000 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 2017. Here, we present the best drum clinician/demonstrators of 2017. First up we have Kaz Rodriguez...
2017 highlight: Kaz’s stock continued to rise in 2017 as he performed clinics to captivated crowds around the world. A couple of highlights on Kaz’s calendar included performing a career-affirming set at PASIC, followed a few days later by an electrifying main stage slot to a full house at the London Drum Show, including some double drumming with his old mate Aaron Spears. Jaws were dropped.
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8. Aaron Spears
2017 highlight: While his day job as drummer for pop princess Ariana Grande kept him plenty busy throughout 2017, Aaron Spears still found room in his hectic schedule to demonstrate his skills to rooms full of drummers around the world. From clinics in China and drum festivals in Europe, to main stage at the London Drum Show 2017, Aaron proved again and again why he is the first-call for the biggest acts in pop.
7. Michael Schack
2017 highlight: Michael continues to be at the forefront of all things hybrid drumming and is one of Roland’s most insightful and liveliest demonstrators. There’s very little this guy doesn’t know about combining acoustic and electronic drums, and he shared his encyclopaedic knowledge to devastating effect with crowds the world over this year. Our personal highlight was his energetic performance at the Meinl Drum Day in Scotland back at the start of November.
6. Thomas Lang
2017 highlight: A veteran of the clinic circuit, Thomas knows exactly how to deliver inspiration, spectacle and entertainment in equal measure, and during this year’s DW TV tour of Japan, Australia and the Philippines alongside the mighty Virgil Donati he did just that. More shows please, guys!
5. Jost Nickel
2017 highlight: Jost took his unique brand of drumming far and wide in 2017, including clinic dates in China, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, where more and more people were turned onto the premier educator. We’re also over the moon to finally get our hands on Jost’s fantastic Fill Book, which became available in English this year!
4. Steve White
2017 highlight: Steve White’s commitment to educating drummers is second to none. While we’re looking forward to getting stuck into Steve’s British Online Drum School, it was seeing the drummer in the flesh at this year’s London Drum Show, and also with his old mate Chad Smith at the tail end of last year, that were our drumming highlights of the last 12 months. Steve’s ability to impart knowledge is unrivalled, and his playing ain’t bad either.
3. Anika Nilles
2017 highlight: While last minute surgery forced Anika to cancel a handful of clinics late in 2017, that didn’t take away from the fact the drumming trailblazer released her fantastic album Pikalar and took those songs to clinic audiences around the globe. By far our favourite appearance was actually Anika’s info-filled lessons exploring key album tracks on Drumeo.
2. Benny Greb
2017 highlight: Audiences at Benny’s clinics never leave disappointed, but he took things to a whole new level at the 2017 Meinl Drum Festival where he was one of the standouts on an already stellar line-up. Opening the event, Benny was on top form, in particular performing a creative, musical and captivating drum solo.
Winner: Craig Blundell
2017 highlight: As Steven Wilson’s drummer of choice Craig Blundell might be much busier now, but before he became a prog superstar he was a master clinician, delivering entertainment and education to captivated drummers. Craig still found time for clinics in 2017, and his performances - from masterclasses to hybrid demos for Roland - were nothing short of inspiring.