An Editor’s Overview
When I first started playing drums, the challenge was finding enough credible content, whether in the form of method books, magazine articles, or instructional videos, to help me understand exactly what skills and tools I would need in order to become a professional musician. I bought whatever VHS tapes and drum methods my local music store carried, I borrowed every music history book and jazz CD my local library had available, and I practiced all of the exercises included in Modern Drummer each month.
If the dominant theme of drumming in the twenty-first century is the blurring of lines—playing versus programming, online versus on stage, tradition versus exploration, band membership versus freelance work—then here is a player who stands tall as a gleaming reminder that each of us can, and should, have it both ways, at every turn.
At the top of the list of famed metal drummer Gene Hoglan’s latest projects is Testament’s Brotherhood of the Snake, the legendary thrash band’s first studio album since 2012’s Dark Roots of Earth. When the players entered the studio, some were hearing the songs, which were written by guitarist Eric Peterson, for the first time. Hoglan is no stranger to learning material and recording it in the same day, though, and has the ability to make it sound as though the parts are well rehearsed.
Blair Sinta spent his formative teenage years playing gigs in Detroit, and if you’re looking to prove that the famous Midwestern work ethic applies as easily to drummers as it does to auto workers, he’s a great example. After graduating from the prestigious University of North Texas, Sinta headed west to Los Angeles, where he played rock and jazz gigs around town until finally landing the drum chair with Alanis Morissette in 2001.
With a warlike handle that belies his gentle nature, the larger-than-life god of thunder shuns aggressive musicality for the joys of ethereal and cyclical rhythmic patterns.
The Pauper & the Magician, Ari Hoenig’s tenth album as a leader, is a perfect platform for the veteran jazz musician’s many skills. Hoenig’s coherent compositional style, choice of brilliant and simpatico musicians, and white-hot drumming fill the album. Its title track courses through a gentle bolero to a playful through-composed section and rhythmically rambunctious solos.
With a childhood surrounded by jazz, early drum heroes from classic rock’s glory days, and a résumé filled with R&B stars, it’s no wonder the Rob Thomas regular fits in so easily wherever he goes.