The only drummer attached to this title that I can think of was the jazz drummer...
...Buddy Rich, had the best technique of the big 3 (Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson)...
...I'm not sure about musicality...his solos weren't very musical, always sounded like a Buddy Rich solo.
There are drummers with great technique but whether you chose to call them virtuosos is up to you...Jojo Mayer for example has excellent and very precise technique...would you call him a virtuoso? IDK?
In the early days of jazz drumming, virtuosos were rare, guys like Chick Webb and Sid Catlett.
Can't say I have ever heard the term virtuoso attached to any type of drummer or percussionist. Why is this? There are plenty of incredibly skilled, versatile drummers who could probably qualify for this honorable title.
Back in the days of Chick Webb?
Oh yeah, loads of them. Fletcher Henderson had a monster, but I can't remember his name now. Plus many others. Baby Dodds, George Lawrence Stone, Papa Jo..... so many. Think of all the orchestral snare guys and those in the military. Loads an loads and......
Guess it's all relative. I might be missing something (perfectly possible) but from what I've heard the things that guys like Dave Weckl, Vinnie, Denis Chambers, Billy Cobham, Tony W, Elvin and earlier on, Buddy and Louie B were a fair bit more advanced than the work of a guy like Chick Webb.
Only first saw a clip of Papa Jo the other day and he was amazing ... and I love the way he nonchalantly smiles as weaves his magic. For knocking you out with a charm offensive he wins hands down
You cannot compare a Webb with a Cobham. Webb owes Cobham nothing. Cobham owes Webb a great deal. There is an historic timeline that cannot be ignored. Any advance was made by drummers playing the instrument over decades.
How many drummers know how to build a song or play for the song? Who can play fluently across a range of styles? How many can demonstrate the range of techniques employed by drummers throughout the history of the instrument? How many understand song form and can read music to the point where they can nail a chart the first time they sit down to perform it? I think reading counts. It does for any other instrument. What about time? Who has demonstrated consistently great time and interpretation whenever they perform?
I think when you consider the range of factors that play into the traditional application of the term to drumset the list becomes EXTREMELY SHORT. Genius, Artist, and Virtuoso are terms that, I feel, get bantered around too often by those without a understanding of the true extent of their meaning.
I could be wrong but I'm not sure if it's possible to take things further than the current crop of drum superstars, technically speaking. Even less sure that it would be a good thing but that could be the old fart in me speaking .
But wouldn't the list be as short with any other instrument with your definition? The thing is, with time the amount of styles and techniques that one could master has grown exponentially. And it will come even harder in the future to be able to "play fluently across a range of styles". And by who's standards should it be evaluated. There's always couple of those people who will say "you call that JAZZ?!" or "you call that a blast?!", "you seriously think that's moeller?". The list would go on and on. Why whould the consistency of a mezzo piano dynamic be a make or break of a virtuoso? Isn't it a bit trivial in terms of a bigger picture on the instrument.
I'm not sure a piano virtuoso is labeled as such with your definition.