Okay, we’ve wanted to do a post on Greyson Nekrutman for a while, as he’s one of the best young drummers out there.
Nekrutman is 20 and has taken the world of social media by storm. That’s due to his energetic playing style, reminiscent of drumming greats such as Buddy Rich, fusing traditional jazz with some modern sensibilities.
The young drummer’s focus on a distinctly jazzing leaning marks an interesting move away from his peers, most being inclined to list Dave Grohl as their #1 influence. The result is refreshing and spectacular!
Greyson Nekrutman and the World of Jazz Drumming
At the start of the above video, that’s no less than The Police drumming legend Stewart Copeland singing the praises of Nekrutman.
And it’s clear to see why. Nekrutman shows an incredible skillset at an early age which is, surely, destined to bag him a long career as a drummer. He’s already showcasing the type of skills the all-time greats have—fluid, dextrous, inventive, and a joy to listen to (and watch).
Just really nimble-fingered excellence with all sorts of manic chops and creativity.
He’s from Long Island, New York and started playing drums at age four and was schooled by his teacher (Justin Gallow) in jazz, Latin, and rock. And his all-round knowledge has helped him emerge as one of this generation’s most promising drummers.
The result is mighty. You can see him action here on the legendary American jazz standard Caravan by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington.
Nekrutman has helped make his name by using social media. Instagram in particular, where his licks and tricks are clear to see. Particularly during the pandemic year of 2020, when people discovered his antics during various international lockdowns.
His recent appearances on the excellent Drumeo have only furthered his popularity.
His speed, versatility, and dextrous capacity for complex music is most impressive indeed! We also like how he’s using his jazz influences across his other drumming styles, which is a path other legendary drummers have used (such as with Can’s rhythm genius Jaki Liebezeit).
Nekrutman’s passion for the drums is obvious and we really appreciate he’s putting in the effort to understand what he’s doing. He’s putting the time in to comprehend his actions and master his skills.
This is helped considerably as he has a photographic memory, which he discovered whilst at school. And he uses that innate ability to recreate drumming performances he watches.
If we have any minor criticism of Nekrutman (and it’s a minor niggle) it’s how we’d like to see him advance his drumming on to find his own style.
The jazz drumming is fantastic, but it’s all been done before. And he’s shown he can do rock, metal etc. drumming with panache.
Finding a unique drumming voice is important. Although we appreciate replicating what you see from the drumming greats is all part of any drummer’s ongoing development.
We mention this as we think Nekrutman has all the skills he needs to take things a step further and become one of the best drummers ever (very, very possibly!). Like his hero Buddy Rich did with his pioneering work as a young drummer.
Failing that, he can at least be one of the best drummers of his generation.
Like with young drummer Yoyoka Soma right now, you can see in her clips she’s defining her own style and chops. And she’s another young superstar drummer in waiting who used social media to make her name.
But saying we’re criticising Nekrutman is a bit daft, as his skill set is phenomenal—to be that accomplished by 20 is amazing. It’s more we’re just looking forward to him realising his full potential in the years ahead.
Please, Mr. Nekrutman, go forth and light up the drumming world further, sir!
Greyson Nekrutman’s Take on Whiplash
One of favourite videos of Nekrutman is the above review of the 2014 jazz drumming film Whiplash. In it, a young jazz drummer attempts to make his name.
The Hollywoodisation of this makes for some interesting critiquing, as some of the drumming in the film in it is manipulated to make things more dramatic.
And some of the jazz community descended on that to scoff at Whiplash.
Although we don’t think it was created to make a 100% lifelike experience of what drumming is, you realise some of the representations of drumming are a bit daft once Nekrutman breaks them down.
But for more casual viewers, it’s not going to really mean much anyway. And we like the film! Anything that brings drumming to the attention of global culture, as Whiplash did, is fine by us.