A musical transition using the melody
Just a quick post today to illustrate a point I was making in an excellent conversation on the AllAboutJazz forum.  The conversation was focused on whether a drummer playing the melody was really musically relevant, or just a gimmick.  My contention (predictably) is that there are a lot of ways in which a drummer can use the melody in a musically compelling fashion.  If you go to 5:40 in the video above you can see one example of how a drummer can use the melody effectively.  

In this clip Jeff Hamilton plays the melody at the end of his solo to transition seamlessly back to the head.  To my ears this is not just a drumistic gimmick.  Using the melody this way ties the drum solo to the rest of the song, something that an audience would really appreciate and relate to.