James Gadson was one of the most influential drummers in Los Angeles during the 1960s. He became very instrumental with his energetic approach to drums.
James Gadson originally hailed from Kansas City but moved to Los Angeles, where is grew his career. James was known for his innovative ways of making every music he worked on seem new and unheard It is through this creativity that he became fundamental to every band he joined, and to the music industry at large.
Those who heard him behind the sticks could always identify his styles even without seeing him physically.
James rose to prominence in the late 60s when he joined the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band. He became the core member, working on “Express Yourself” projects with the band. He was one member who believed and trusted in the unity of a band.
He never felt good working on solo projects; rather, he preferred involving his team in everything. Were it not for his stability and dedication; it would have been very hard for the band to gain its fame then.
He worked day and night to ensure every performance they made left their audience asking for more.
Later, he changed bands and join the then Bill Wither’s bands. And even here, he served at the more important member, determining the group’s fate in every direction. His history with this team indicates he played a critical role in keeping it together, as well as delivering the best gigs.
James understands every aspect of great drumming, and he used his knowledge to give his audience what they require. At one point, he was recorded saying, “I just want to make those who listen to me happy … so I get into their shoes and try to imagine their reaction if I played in a particular style.” And this why he seemed to understand his environment greatly and why he was so loved.
While working with these bands, James kept himself busy all the time as one of the most prolific session players in town. He never disappointed with his moves, something that made him much appreciated across the industry.
Some said, played a though he wasn’t even trying, it all made sense when his output bore results. This way, he always ensured relevance with his gigs. Perhaps it was his charisma and easy-going personality that attracted him to everyone.
The drummer’s steady handheld to the ground everything in the days. Some of his projects include Jackson 5’s “Dancing Machine,” Temptations‘ “Happy People,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You,” and many other great sounds that came out in his period.”
Jamie Lidell commented in the drummer, saying, “…. He played ‘Let’s Get It On’… Gadson that sound.” Talking to Pitchfork, Lidell could not stop showing his fondness to the drummer.
He loved playing with him because “some crazy lock goes on, and I’ve never experienced with another musician.” James always smiled while behind the sticks, making it seem so simple, something that made many drummers admire his composure.