The best session/independent drummers of 2020, as voted for by you

Chad Smith
(Image credit: Martin Philbey/Redferns/Getty)

Session players and independent drummers are some of the most respected in the game, hired for their skills, sound and feel, these rock 'n' roll consultants get picked to bring a specific flavour to the table.

This year's nominations included everything from moonlighting rockstars to some of the tightest hired guns on the planet, to drummers who put out albums of their own compositions. 

The MusicRadar Best in drums awards are brought to you in association with Allianz Musical Insurance - the UK's Number 1 Specialist Instrument Insurer

Chad Smith 

When the Prince of Darkness needed a drummer for his Ordinary Man album this year, he looked no further than our favourite RHCP, Chad Smith. Chad’s classic rock pedigree shines through on the record, blending his harder rock influences with his signature swinging groove. Nice one, Chad!

Luke Holland

There are plenty of drummers out there with monster chops, but Luke Holland has been blowing minds for years and continued to do so throughout 2020. As well as pre-Covid touring with Rüfüs Du Sol, and an appearance on the forthcoming Hollywood Undead album, Luke has kept himself active with tons of lessons, remixes, covers and grooves this year.

Benny Greb

Benny’s 2020 snares ranked highly in their category, and it’s been a year of new products for Benny with signature sticks, his Gap Click app, and a new book. The man himself has managed to stay active musically too, putting in an incredible performance at the Drumeo virtual festival.

Steve Gadd

Some would argue that Steve Gadd drumming on a pizza box would be enough to qualify him for this category. But he also released a signature snare, recorded an album with Hermine Deurloo, put on loads of online clinics, gigs and hangs, and he managed to fit in some time with his old mate Eric Clapton to honour Ginger Baker. Oh, and he turned 75, here’s to you, Steve! 

Kaz Rodriguez

Kaz Rodriguez continues to go from strength-to-strength. In the last 12 months, he’s performed with The Bays, appeared on the cover of Rhythm with on e of his heroes, Simon Phillips, and, as we counted our votes, the UK chopsmeister completed a week of performing on Late Night With Seth Meyers. We think he deserves a week off.

Anika Nilles

Drummer’s solo albums can conjure all sorts of musical horrors, but Anika Nilles’ For A Colorful Soul is a tasteful and extremely musical collection. We love Anika’s dedication to not only presenting some inspiring music, but encouraging and sharing knowledge with her fans.

Matt Chamberlain

Matt Chamberlain is the session drummer’s session drummer. This year he appeared on Rough and Rowdy Ways with upstart hopeful songwriter, Bob Dylan, as well as Perfume Genius’ Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

MusicRadar Team

MusicRadar is the number 1 website for music makers of all kinds, be they guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, djs or producers...

GEAR: We help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high- quality, authoritative reviews by a wide team of highly experienced experts. TIPS: We also provide tuition, from bite-sized tips to advanced work-outs and guidance from recognised musicians and stars. STARS: We talk to musicians and stars about their creative processes, and the nuts and bolts of their gear and technique. We give fans an insight into the actual craft of music making that no other music website can.