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Sabian Evolution Series

Darwin would have liked these highly evolved cymbals


by Dendy Jarrett



When Bob Z started Sabian, I'm certain he realized that cymbals have to change with musical trends. But it's not just about music: amplification has  changed, there are now much better mics, better mixers, and better isolation techniques...so cymbals must evolve to adapt.


The History


Evolution can be defined as the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form. So there’s certainly something in the name, and when Sabian sent me a set of their Evolution Series cymbals to review, I was intrigued by the name and wanted to know more.


The cymbals were developed  as a joint project between Sabian specialist/designer Mark Love and acclaimed drummer Dave Weckl. They wanted a cymbal that would be extremely versatile and cover a  wide range of styles. Whether jazz, fusion, gospel, or rock, the cymbals needed to speak. Dave was looking for a specific sound, and after rounds and rounds of prototypes, they finally landed on the sound that was in his head. Dave says: “I wanted a cymbal that invited you to play it with no resistance, speaking with clarity and brilliance, air, and atmosphere.” 


The Cymbals


The Evolution cymbals I reviewed were specifically the 21” Ride and the 19” Crash. Interestingly, this cymbal series doesn't have the usual thin, medium thin, medium, heavy, etc. variations). These cymbals are considered to be the sound that each should be producing naturally. Dave insisted that this be the most consistent cymbal series that Sabian has ever produced, which is difficult to attain with cymbals that aren't just stamped out. Yet the cymbals are indeed consistent, and simply beautiful. The hammering is “soft” with wide hammer blows that are extremely subtle. The finish is a brilliant mirror finish. and is butter soft.



The Performance


These cymbals are indeed suitable for a wide variety of music genres. Explaining a cymbal's sound can be a challenge, but to me these are warm yet durable, with a hint of “iceness” to the sound. The “crash” has a brighter brilliance, but the rolloff is quite warm. 


The 21” Ride has a strong but not overwhelming "wash" to it and can serve as a crash/ride in certain applications. The bell has distinct definition, although not suited for a power ballad. Overall it has a dark, funky sound...great for grooving. Of all the cymbals I’ve owned, I've never had a 21”, so this is a departure for me. I like that this cymbal fits into an uncommon niche. 


The 19” Crash falls in the "sweet spot" of the new “bigger is better” cymbal trend. There's a bright attack with a glass-shattering crash and a nice warm decay. I used it for gospel applications, and it found its place at the drum set.



The Conclusion


Dave Weckl and Sabian did a masterful job of developing this cymbal series. The cymbals are fantastic. There was a time when there were no “series” of cymbals; you just selected an 16” crash by setting up ten 16” crashes and finding the one that you liked the best. But, since we do have a veritable smorgasbord of cymbals series to choose from now, the Evolutions should definitely be a contender, especially if your playing is diverse and you're not locked into one specific genre of music. I’m off to try some other sizes myself!    -HC-




Sabian Obsessed - Dave Weckl



Evolution Ride


To purchase Sabian Evolutions -


Sweetwater Music 

Musician's Friend 

 Guitar Center

Amazon Music






Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.


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