The actual drummer in the movie Whiplash (2014) is Bernie Dresel (US), a studio drummer who has performed and recorded with multiple bands, e.g., The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. His drumming is heard on TV shows and movie soundtracks, including The Simpsons, The Sopranos, Incredibles 2, The Bourne Supremacy, Zootopia, and Elf.
Even though Miles Teller, who plays the ambitious young jazz drummer Andrew Neiman in Whiplash, has some nice drum chops, it is apparent early on in the film that he is not on the level of what is heard in the movie.
So, I did some digging and found this article, which confirms that Bernie Dresel was the drummer playing in the Whiplash movie.
Examples of Bernie Dresel in action on stage and the Whiplash Soundtrack
Below, you can hear and see Bernie in action with his Bigband, the BBB, performing Caravan (by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington), one of the prominent tunes in the movie.
For comparison, here’s Miles Teller’s depiction of Caravan in the movie’s final scene.
Bernie’s large, explosive, big-band sound is easily recognizable.
Whiplash is a testament to the power of making short films.
Whiplash is an excellent example of why making short films still matters. Not only do they help you polish your filmmaking skills, but they can also lead to much bigger opportunities.
Here’s Damien Chazelle’s original short film, which worked as a proof of concept that helped kick the doors open for the feature:
At the 87th Academy Awards, J. K. Simmons (who plays the emotionally abusive conductor Fletcher) received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.
Tom Cross won the Academy Award for Best Film Editing, and Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, and Thomas Curley won the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing.
Here’s a nice comparison of the cuts in the original Whiplash short film and the feature film.
Other amazing examples of Caravan
I wanted to include something extra for my fellow drummers or anyone who loves high-level artistry.
Here’s an amazing performance from drumming prodigy Greyson Nekrutman, who also performed Caravan.
Watching Nekrutman’s intense solo is probably some of the closest you can get to a real-life example of Whiplash’s ending scene apart from Dresel himself.
This article wouldn’t be complete without Buddy’s Rich performance of Caravan:
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