Many years ago, the jazz-guitar teacher who had the misfortune of trying to teach me there was more to the art of guitar than Marc Bolan and Mick Ronson dragged me to a local drum shop to hear his drummer audition cymbals. I thought I was being punished for loving the Kinks. The idea of a ping-ping-crash-splash-kerrang assault all afternoon did not seem much fun at all, but my teacher felt it would do me some kind of good to discern the subtle and unsubtle timbres of different rides, crashes, and hi-hats. At first, all I heard was noise. But eventually, my ears became attuned to the variations of sound, and I discovered all the incredible colors cymbals bring to a musical production. Lesson learned. Duh.
You already know all of this, of course, which is probably why you are always on the lookout for new cymbals—whether you go minimal with hi-hats, a ride, and a crash, or surround yourself with an armada of “flying saucers.” Adding tonal colors to your kit is simply too tempting. To guide your quest, here are recent releases from seven cymbal manufacturers. Dive in.