I once read a quote attributed to John Bonham that he thought drums sounded better than cymbals. I'm not sure I agree with that, but i would say, to my ears, I generally like the sound of toms more than snare drums or bass drums. There is a very "snare-y" component to a lot of the keeper of the flame type drummers I hear these days, and I find it tiresome. ( That said, I am NOT referring to people like Buddy Rich, Philly Joe Jones or especially Kenny Clarke who got so much mileage out of a snare he really didn't need toms! )
So let's hear some examples of great tom playing and sounds.
Here's a great example of some fine tom work from one of the original pioneers of the modern drum set, Baby Dodds. Note how he creates great melodies between the drums.
Of course, one can't talk about toms grooves and solos without mentioning Gene Krupa. Here he is later in his career playing his signature tune.
Here's Elvin Jones demonstrating the depth of Krupa's influence on his use of toms in his composition " 3 Card molly ".
There are so many great examples of tom use in Pop and Rock as well. Here's Motown masters Pistol Allen and Uriel Jones on Marvin Gaye's " I Heard it Through the Grapevine " . Backbeats on a tom? Who needs a snare drum?!
Finally, here's Jack DeJohnette playing against type and keeping time with just toms, bass drum and hi-hat on Dave Holland's " African Lullaby ".
Now let's get out there and enjoy some tomfoolery! ( Ha! Dad jokes r' me ! )