The best of the best, New York Panorama Drummers
New York - The man who anchors a New York steelband panorama performance is of a special breed. He is not just a drummer. The fortunes of up to ninety-nine other performing musicians (or in the case of Trinidad & Tobago, one hundred and nineteen) in his steel orchestra over which he presides, rests on his competence, skill set, nerves and vision. And well beyond his expected time-keeper duties, he is Mr. Excitement, Mr. Punctuator and Mr. Tempo for a ten-minute musical piece that the panorama world would be critiquing for a very long time.
He must control and mesh seamlessly with the rhythm section, which often is made up of very talented (the best in the world at what they do) but often hard-to-get-along-with, lovable, strong-willed characters who may see, hear and feel differently about what the percussive unit is executing, and their own role!
The panorama drummer position is not for the faint of heart, as this prestigious position has no shortage of able and ready suitors should he falter. It is a one and done career, that is: you get no chances to mess up. Mess-up once and it is “over” for you as a panorama drummer forever in New York.
This year New York again had a bumper crop of some of the world’s most respected steelband panorama drummers, some of whom are pictured below.
Crossfire 2010 panorama drummer (also the arranger!) - Leon “Foster” Thomas