I’ve enjoyed this thread so far. The topic has been thought provoking to me: it has made me reexamine my personal biases and pause to consider why I like certain drummers better than others.
And manveru, I may respectfully disagree with you about creative people not being “just born that way” because at least in my field of mechanical design engineering I believe they are. I’ve seen too many brilliant PhD-level engineers run for cover when I’d throw a clean sheet of paper in front of them and challenge them to design something new. They know all the theory, passed all the tests, have hundreds of equations memorized, but cannot CREATE. Many are great at analyzing, testing, and evolving other’s creative output but struggle to develop their own original ideas. I cannot say conclusively these same observations apply to musicians but I sense they do.
I enjoy watching and listening to groups with two drummers, or at least the groups that do it well and the drummers’ styles are complementary. Last fall, we went to see The Stick Men and Adrian Belew’s Power Trio share the stage at a local club. At intermission, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to speak with Pat (aka P@) Mastelotto for a few minutes. I have always enjoyed his work with King Crimson both paired with Bill Bruford and by himself. He told me to watch drummer Tobias Ralph in Adrian’s group, saying excitedly “This guy is really talented”. And P@ was absolutely correct: Tobias was terrific but in a way totally different from P@ play. Watching P@ play is like watching Animal in the Muppet Show pit band. Arms and sticks are going everywhere while these great polyrhythms and sounds erupt from his set. He is a big hitter and his every expression telegraphs how much fun he is having. Tobias is all about economy of motion and absolute technical mastery and stick control. We enjoyed his set very much too. The best part though was when both bands merged at the end to play Crim music. The interplay between these two was mind-boggling. They obviously have great respect for each other and have carved out a great middle ground to play together.
Apples and oranges maybe, but tasty regardless!