When you think about drummers with a talent, Steve Gadd should come in your mind.
Hence, Steve Gadd stands as a legend in his own rights. And there is no better way of describing him that what Pete Fairclough said. The British jazz drummer stated that Gadd does not just play a groove; he digs a trench.
This means the drummer only does not follow what others have done; rather, he would make his own path and use it to deliver the most incredible grooves. Those who loved listening to his performance understood that the drummer’s style was all about making quality music rather than just impressing his audience.
Steve Gadd was at the peak of his career in the 1970s. He was sort after in the whole of New York as he tried to bring a new approach to drumming. It was his dedication and his string strength that earned him a spot among the best. He claims to have been playing three sessions a day.
Such a schedule requires very serious training, mastery of different genres, and a willingness to invest time behind the sticks. This is one of the reasons he was able to, for over a decade, over a deep and gently funkiness to rock music.
Many drummers and fans only believed in the heaviness of the metal, delivering thunderous output with every strike. But Gadd managed to bring out something different. He approached the genre with such subtle, yet deep grooves that it encouraged many to listen to his work.
It was perhaps because of this that he was able to deliver three performances per day. And when it came to delivering what it means to be a real drummer, Gadd was never short of tricks that would make even the simplest pieces seem wholly new.
There are several projects he worked on that are still ringing the air even today. One of them is the brain-bending syncopation of “50 Wats to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon.
It is one of the works that have left making talking about and marveling at his creativity. And if you haven’t listened to it, perhaps you have heard the slurping hi-hats and monster fills on “Aja” by Steely Dan. These are only what many may know. But they are not all there is, Gadd has signed his groove into hundreds of other pieces.
Another very outstanding performance by the drummer is recorded in Van McCoy’s Number One disco feeling “The Hustle.” For generations, this piece has been a reference for drummers who seek to improve their overall drumming skills.
Chick Corea once said that “every drummer wants to play like Gadd,” because every note he plays is delivered with incredible precision and perfection.
This is enough evidence that Gadd was not only a drummer but a mentor as well. As Corea indicates more, the drummer had unveiled interest in the orchestral and compositional concept in drumming.
In other words, anyone who learns from him is able to play drums and, at the same time, dig into great their imaginations with the ability to swing.