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Section D: Post-Bop & Fusion Drummers

Elvin Jones (9 September 1927–18 May 2004) was one of the most influential jazz drummers of the post-bop era. He showed interest in drums at a young age, watching the circus bands march by his family's home in Pontiac, Michigan. He served in the United States Army from 1946 to 1949 and subsequently played in a Detroit houseband led by Billy Mitchell. He moved to New York in 1955 and worked as a sideman for Charles Mingus-Teddy Charles, Bud Powell and Miles Davis.

Anthony Tillmon "Tony" Williams (December 12, 1945 – February 23, 1997) was an American jazz drummer. Widely regarded as one of the most important and influential jazz drummers to come to prominence in the 1960s, Williams first gained fame in the band of trumpeter Miles Davis, and was a pioneer of jazz fusion.

Jack DeJohnette (born 9 August 1942) is an American jazz drummer, pianist, and composer. DeJohnette was born in Chicago, Illinois. Besides the drums, he studied the piano, which he plays on several recordings. He first became known as a member of Charles Lloyd's band, a group that pianist Keith Jarrett also was a part of at that time. He played with Bill Evans in 1968 on the acclaimed Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and from 1969 to 1972 played with Miles Davis.

Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (born June 11, 1939) is an American drummer and session musician from Elkton, Maryland who has worked with various well-known soul, rock, pop, and jazz musicians. He moved to New York in 1960 and started playing with Lonnie Youngblood before going on to work with King Curtis, and in 1970, Aretha Franklin, eventually becoming her musical director for five years. He has also toured with seminal bop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Hank Crawford.

William "Billy" Cobham (born May 16, 1944 in Panama), is a Panamanian American jazz drummer, composer and bandleader. Coming to prominence in the late 1960s and early '70s with trumpeter Miles Davis and then with Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Steve Gadd (born April 9, 1945 in Rochester, New York) is an American session and studio drummer, notable for his work with Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Al Jarreau, Joe Cocker, Bob James, Chick Corea, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, The Manhattan Transfer, Al Di Meola, Manhattan Jazz Quintet and many others. By the end of the 1970s, Steve Gadd was one of the most in-demand and influential drummers in the world. Chick Corea once commented, "Every drummer wants to play like Gadd because he plays perfect... He has brought orchestral and compositional thinking to the drum kit while at the same time having a great imagination and a great ability to swing."

David Garibaldi (born in Oakland, California) is the drummer for Oakland-based funk/soul band Tower of Power. He began playing drums in childhood while living near San Francisco, California. He became known as an innovator in funk drumming. He has since appeared in a variety of studio and live settings including work for television and film.

Peter Erskine (born June 5, 1954) is an American jazz drummer and composer. He was born in Somers Point, New Jersey, U.S.. He began playing the drums at the age of four. He graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, then studied percussion at Indiana University. His professional career started in 1972 when he joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra. After three years with Kenton he joined Maynard Ferguson for two years. In 1978 he joined Weather Report, joining the legendary Jaco Pastorius to form a formidable rhythm section.

Dave Weckl (born January 8, 1960) is a highly acclaimed Jazz Fusion drummer. Starting out on the New York fusion scene in the early 1980s, Weckl soon found himself working with artists such as Paul Simon, Madonna, George Benson, Michel Camilo and Anthony Jackson. His most famous early work though, where his popularity blossomed, was with the Chick Corea Elektric Band from 1985 to 1991.

Gary Novak was born and raised in Chicago, he was practically born with drum sticks in hand. At 19 years old, Novak moved to Los Angeles - an important step forward for Novak bringing many opportunities most could only dream of getting. Not only did Los Angeles bring him his first road job with Maynard Ferguson, but it marked a year of great exposure. He teamed up with guitarist Lee Ritenour who employed him for his solo tour and the GRP All-Star tour in 1991. At 28, he joined Chick Corea’s newest band.

Copyright © Mat Duniam 2012