I often hear from my students at the drumfarm “I don’t want to play jazz” . But jazz is just a label and labels are the curse of music. Most musicians don’t concern themselves with labels- music is music, it’s either good or bad, and even the bad is not bad, just different.
Most drummers and bands get labelled, and Led Zeppelin are best known as the definitive 70’s rock band, but actually they were a really diverse band and John Bonham rose to the musical challenge.
When John Bonham was young, rock was in it’s infancy, he, like Keith moon, Charlie watts and Ringo Starr probably heard as much jazz as rock n roll. The first rock n roll drummers were jazz drummers, they had to invent rock drumming which previously did not exist.
Bonham took these influences to create his parts for classic zeppelin tracks such as Moby Dick ( Max Roach and Joe Morello and Papa Jo jones).
The point is that while Bonham was not a jazz drummer, the reason he was a GREAT drummer was because he opened his ears and mind to all genres of music, borrowing from every style going. To really understand what makes our current drumming heroes we have not just to study them, but we could do no harm in travelling back and finding out who THEY listened to…. Enjoy the journey!