I think the different perspectives of a drummer have to be taken into account here. Loud, bashy drummers with funny hats are really fun for the audience. A guitarist or horn player may prefer a drummer who locks in with them and forms a tight unit for the rest of the band to follow. I've heard once or twice from a band that the only requirement for a drummer be that he has access to a drum set the night of the gig. Bass players have a special relationship to their drummers. Here's my checklist for my favorite drummers:
- plays dynamically - can he hear other members of the band onstage? does he notice if you stop playing?
- when he does get quiet, doesn't slow down - quieting down and inadvertently slowing down is unfortunately a common occurrence in music. However, the drummer gets paid to be a bastion d'excellence in terms of rhythm and should be strung up by his pink bits if he ruins this before anyone else gets the chance to.
- makes occasional eye contact - there is something about making eye contact that makes a rhythm section gel. Ever seen Levon Helm watch a bass player? It's like a magnifying glass on an ant.
- honorable mention: good hang, doesn't talk too much, plays fills that sounds like a clown carrying a tray of silverware falling down a flight of stairs, has more than one pair of pants (you know who you are)