Re: Al Foster
There are a couple reasons why he could be doing this.
1. Projection. At that angle, the sound of the ride is going directly into the audience, not down. Think of it as hearing the cymbal from the bottom only.
2. Look at how close he can put them to himself and his drums so as to reach any part of the cymbal without stretching. The edge or playing area isn't as far up as you think.
3. Stick attack. Like Jon Christensen, Al uses the 'tippin' technique on his cymbal- hitting the cymbal more with the tip of the bead rather than the full bead.
4. Feel. At that angle you are actually pushing the stick to the cymbal rather than letting it drop. Al (like Christensen, Eric Gravatt and others) obviously dig this.
Lochday, your drum teacher is wrong. If it was comfortable to you, then it was the right thing to do.