Check out the new California section


Tony Williams
Jazz drummers vary the beat
Jazz drummers vary the beat

In jazz, this is the era of the drummer. On a scene largely defined by the proliferation of creatively ambitious trap set experts, every year seems to bring a new crop of gifted rhythmic explorers. While steeped in jazz history, many of these musicians rove freely across stylistic frontiers, drawing from gospel, funk, folk, Balkan, Cuban and other deep musical wells. Over the next month, three drummer/bandleaders who've forged highly personal group sounds from myriad musical sources perform in the Los Angeles area. While sounding nothing alike, Brian Blade, Steve Smith and Allison Miller all embody the way that drummers are directing jazz's evolution. Blade has spent the past...