DRUMMIES 2016: Percussionist Categories

Find the drum set winners here.

Everybody likes a compliment. And when you consider how drummers so often are relegated to the back of the stage, shoved aside by machines in the studio, and forced to bear the brunt of careless jokes, a little bit of heartfelt praise can pose the inspirational equivalent of a cold glass of water slaking a particularly parched throat.

There are different types of compliments, though, and each takes on a commensurate level of significance. For example, when fans approach you at the end of a gig to offer thanks for a great show, you can be fairly certain they weren't actually commenting on the way you feather the bass drum or execute crossovers. They simply had a great time, which is a beautiful thing, indeed.

But it's an entirely different story when a fellow drummer offers an insightful compliment. In that case, you can count on the fact that he or she studied your drumming and was impressed enough by your chops to actually tell you, which is why the annual Drummies! Artist Awards are so important to those players who receive the honor. About the process: We first reach out to experts in the drum and recording industries to nominate finalists in each category. Once the nominations are tabulated, we take the three top vote winners and ask you, our readers, to choose those drummers and percussionists who win the ultimate prize. This year, we also offered an optional write-in candidate during the final vote, to level the playing field. At least one winner in each category was chosen by your write-in votes.

So here are the winners of the 2016 Drummies! Artist Awards, chosen by you. Congratulations to them all.

See drum set winners here.

PERCUSSIONIST OF THE YEAR: RAUL REKOW

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DRUM! readers revealed their collective wisdom by choosing the late Raul Rekow to win the Percussionist Of The Year category. While he accompanied a who’s-who of music legends, including Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, and Herbie Hancock, Rekow was best known as the conguero for Santana from 1976 to 2015. Despite his reputation as one of the leading conga clinicians, the ever-humble Rekow referred to himself as a “student for life” in a 2002 interview with DRUM! After the percussionist succumbed to cancer last November at the age of 61, Carlos Santana remembered his bandmate as “the heartbeat of Santana,” adding, “He redefined what it means to be a conga player.”

RISING STAR PERCUSSIONIST: ROLAND GAJATE-GARCIA

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STUDIO PERCUSSIONIST: ALEX ACUÑA

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LATIN PERCUSSIONIST: PEDRITO MARTINEZ

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JAZZ PERCUSSIONIST: PONCHO SANCHEZ

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ROCK/POP/HIP-HOP PERCUSSIONIST: DANIEL DE LOS REYES

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WORLD PERCUSSIONIST: TOM TEASLEY

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PERCUSSION CLINICIAN: KARL PERAZZO

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PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE: SO PERCUSSION

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