100 Greatest Drummers of All Time

From rock thunder machines to punk powerhouses, we count down the kings and queens of slam

Christian Vander

100. Christian Vander

You could say that French bandleader Christian Vander is among the top drummers not principally known first and foremost for drumming. It probably comes with the territory when you're the founder of a flamboyantly cosmic prog band, active on and off since 1969, that plays in a Zappa-esque jazz-rock idiom called "zeuhl" — meaning "celestial" in Kobaïan, the invented language Magma performs in. But in Vander's fierce energy, his rolling beat and his loose yet clear time, you can hear clearly he's an acolyte of jazz titan Elvin Jones — and by extension, of Jones's most famous employer: "Magma's music was born on a spring day out of my love for John Coltrane and my profound sadness about human inability to comprehend one another," Vander said in a 2015 interview.