9. Ralph Peterson
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 jazz drummers of 2017. First up we have Ralph Peterson...
2017 highlight: The Ralph Peterson Trio played some simply stunning concerts in 2017, performing material from the 2016 Triangular III album that captured sharp, taught and urgent playing from Peterson.
The MusicRadar Best in drums awards are brought to you in association with Allianz Musical Insurance - the UK's Number 1 Specialist Instrument Insurer
8. Jeff 'Tain' Watts
2017 highlight: Best known for playing with esteemed jazz trumpeter Winton Marsalis in the ‘80s, this year Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts put out a second volume of his Blue album, composing and arranging all of the songs himself. The album stems from the blues, but takes in everything from hard bop to odd-time interplay and softer moments of inspiration.
7. Brian Blade
2017 highlight: In 2017 Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band celebrated a 20 year musical partnership with their fifth album Body And Shadow, released on Blue Note. It’s actually quite an understated, minimal performance from Blade, but only serves to highlight what a versatile musicians he is.
6. Manu Katché
2017 highlight: Continuing his journey as a very capable band leader, Manu Katché - perhaps most notable as the drummer on Peter Gabriel’s biggest hits - released another solo jazz album, Unstatic, in 2016. He took that album’s sublime music to the stage of the legendary Ronnie Scott’s at the start of 2017.
5. Charlie Watts
2017 highlight: Fans of the Rolling Stones may be unaware of Charlie’s burning love for jazz, but outside his commitments with that band, Charlie loves nothing more than swinging hard. Early in 2017 he released Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band, a live album with the Danish Radio Big Band recorded in 2010, and featuring standards, originals and unique Rolling Stones covers.
4. Peter Erskine
2017 highlight: We were big fans of Peter Erskine’s 2016 Grammy-nominated Dr. Um album, so we were delighted to delve into The Dr. Um Band’s Second Opinion record, released this year. Peter described the album as “a new look at songs and genres that are ripe and begging for expert musical attention”, and that’s exactly what they delivered, complete with one of Erskine’s finest recorded drum sounds yet.
3. Nate Smith
2017 highlight: Nate’s name has been familiar to those in the know for some years, but this was the year where he became a household name. This new level of exposure was thanks in part to a number of videos that went viral on social media, highlighting Smith’s incredible grasp of groove, time and feel, but it was his eclectic album Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere, that really put him on the map in 2017.
2. Mark Guiliana
2017 highlight: Mark Guiliana is known to have a broad spectrum of influences, and his cutting edge take on jazz has always embodied that spirit. But on Jersey, the 2017 album from the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet, he demonstrates that his edgy playing is firmly rooted in the traditions of jazz. Conversely - and rather surprisingly - Guiliana also stretched his rock muscles on Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron’s solo album Cavedweller.
Winner: Dave Weckl
2017 highlight: In a world where jazz drumming continues to evolve, it speaks volumes that Dave Weckl still garners the same following he did when his sparkling career first took off. In addition to touring with the likes of jazz guitarist Mike Stern and the Chick Corea Elektric Band, this year Dave also found time to launch a new Online School.