Michael Jackson’s Drummer Jonathan Moffett Is The Funkiest Man Alive On “Smooth Criminal”

Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett, Michael Jackson’s esteemed drummer, showcased his unparalleled funkiness in a studio rendition of “Smooth Criminal” captured by Drumeo. Moffett’s performance serves as a testament to his mastery of groove, delivering each beat with mesmerizing precision and an abundance of funk.

Listening to Moffett play is a sheer delight, with every beat flawlessly executed and infused with his signature groove. Rather than simply replicating the programmed drums from the original recording of “Smooth Criminal,” Moffett puts his own spin on the song, injecting rhythmic intricacies on the hi-hat and tasteful fills throughout. His expertise behind the kit subtly elevates the track, adding depth and texture without overshadowing the song’s essence.

In the video, Moffett’s virtuosity shines through, particularly in his intricate hi-hat work, which surpasses the abilities of many drummers on the entire drum kit. The infectious grin on the sound engineer’s face as he watches Moffett’s performance speaks volumes about the drummer’s undeniable talent. Credit is also due to Drumeo for expertly capturing and mixing the performance, allowing Moffett’s nuances to shine through with crystal clarity.

Moffett’s “Smooth Criminal” playthrough quickly became a sensation on YouTube, amassing an impressive 56 million views. Recognizing Moffett’s prowess, Drumeo invited him back for several subsequent performances, including renditions of Jackson classics like “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Jam,” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.” Moffett’s rendition of “Beat It” alone garnered 25 million views, further solidifying his status as a drumming legend.

Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, Moffett, now 68, forged a close bond with Michael Jackson that spanned over three decades, beginning in 1979 when he successfully auditioned to drum for The Jacksons. Moffett remained a key collaborator with Jackson until the singer’s untimely passing in 2009, even participating in preparations for Jackson’s planned residency at the O2 Arena in London.

Beyond their professional partnership, Moffett and Jackson shared a deep personal connection, with Moffett often spending time at Jackson’s home and forming close relationships with the singer’s family. Their bond was evident in their collaboration, with Jackson entrusting Moffett with drumming duties for his live shows and tours, always calling him first for any performance opportunity.

Following Jackson’s passing, Moffett continued to honor his friend’s legacy by contributing to Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, a tribute to the iconic performer that became one of the highest-grossing tours of all time. Moffett’s influence extended far beyond his work with Jackson, as he also lent his talents to other music luminaries such as Madonna, Janet Jackson, George Michael, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John, solidifying his place in music history as a drumming virtuoso of unparalleled caliber.

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