People often ask me where "swing" comes from...
Well, I'm pretty sure that these guys had something to do with it !
Unfortunately, people today (jazz musicians in particular) often overlook the fact that jazz music was born out of playing for dancers and that the relationship between the music and entertainment/vaudeville was a very strong one. The beat that we call "swing" came from playing for dancers.
The vocabulary that early drummer's such as Chick Webb, Papa Jo Jones, etc. all developed and used had a direct relationship to the language and techniques used by their tap dancing counterparts. It's really no surprise that Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson and Jo Jones were also very competent tap dancers in their own right.
There is an important recording of Papa Jo Jones called "The Drums" in which he discusses AND demonstrates the great tap dancers that influenced his playing.
I also once attended a clinic with jazz drummer Clayton Cameron (who's performed with Tony Bennett) and he demonstrated, in detail, the different styles of tap dancing and how he could imitate that with the brushes.
Some pretty slick moves in that first clip with Sammy Davis Jr. and the other "Legends of Tap" (from the movie "Tap" - not a very good movie, but this scene imo makes it worth it!). I could only imagine what it would be like to have their jazz drumming counterparts all the same room at that age, dueling it out and trading licks like that !
I also like it how they put Gregory Hines in his place : )
Hines was basically the "Tony Williams" of tap dancing !