100 Greatest Drummers of All Time

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

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Dennis Chambers
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63. Dennis Chambers

Coming from the same Parliament-Funkadelic school that birthed Ramon "Tiki" Fulwood and Jerome Eugene "Bigfoot" Brailey, Dennis Chambers combined those players' funk acumen with the fusion of Tony Williams, in turn inspiring countless gospel and hip-hop drummers. Working as a house drummer for the Sugar Hill label (Chambers played on "Rapper's Delight") and alongside funky jazz guitarist John Scofield, the Baltimore native honed a style built around bombastic grooves and scorched-earth Buddy Rich–esque fills that seemed to defy time. (Blink-182 showstopper Travis Barker concisely summed up his appeal: "I've always liked Dennis Chambers, he's real flashy.") Since the Nineties, Chambers has gigged extensively with Carlos Santana, Steely Dan and John McLaughlin, while staying busy as a bandleader. Chambers' solo albums — such as Big City, Getting Even and Outbreak — are sadly ignored examples of his mighty wallop and adroit compositional sense.

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