The legendary Steve Gadd.

Dr Drums

Pioneer Member
You would probably want to hit me after hearing this, but I can't seem to find something SO speacial about this guy. overrated imo.
Yes he's very original, and yes he's a real groovemaster, but i can't seem to like him that much.
I have a feeling that ill be convinced otherwise after this thread.
Give some opinions and thought about him, I wanna see if i'm really the only one to think like that.

http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Steve_Gadd.html
 
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mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
He is amazing... what is 'special' about Steve Gadd is his ability to hold a crowd silent with the smallest of movements. He doesn't need to play fast (although he can) but instead his incredibly dexterity and imagination are what makes him stand out from ANY crowd of drummers.

He was basically there at the start when drumming became more than simply providing a groove. Granted, there were others before him, such as Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson etc, but Gadd's strength is his incredible virtuosity across ALL genres. His technical ability, combined with his ability to read and further combined with his imagination is what IMO makes him one of the most gifted drummers to grace us. He can solo, he can groove and he does what no-one else has done, or will do, before or since.
 

LDGuy

Pioneer Member
I think this is hard. I wasn't massively impressed when i first saw videos of him, especially on drummerworld, but as a player and accompanist, Gadd is unique. Gadd has so much groove, it's just unbelievable. I think you really have to watch him play with others and what he does on his records to really understand the level he plays at. Not massive chops, but back in there, just playing what he needs to. Some of these drummers on drummerworld (in fact quite a lot of them) take really front end roles when playing with their various bands - Weckl, Gregg Bissonette, Donati, Steve Smith, Smitty, Dennis, etc etc the list goes on. Very very few just play a groove so perfect it just messes with your head. Gadd is one of them. Not massive on chops, doesn't need to be, but an amazing supporting musician - find some stuff and listen to it! Eric Clapton esp.
 

Paul Quin

Pioneer Member
I truly disagree with several of these posts. Gadd has a better technique than just about anyone. He has better and more chops than just about anyone. He is more innovative and imaginative than just about anyone. And there is no-one more musical and more solid.

Remember, however, that just because you can do stuff, however, doesn't mean you should. That is what makes Gadd such a great drummer. He always does what is necessary for the song and no more. There are many musical cliches which have more than an essence of truth: One particularly appropriate for Gadd is "it's not what you put in its what you leave out."

For those who are unsure about his technique and chops listen to some of the stuff he has done with Chick Corea and Chuck Mangione as well as some of his solo work with the Gadd Gang. For his inventiveness and ability to stay within the pocket listen to some of his work with Rickie Lee Jones - even stuff like Chuck E's in Love is absolutely masterful. Most people are familiar with 50 Ways and with Aja (both of which are remarkable pieces) but there is so more.

He has playing at an incredibly high level for years and years. Even his work with James Taylor (check out "October Road") is truly an artist at work. And all this for a man whose first hit was playing on the Hustle!

I think he is a "deep" player and the more you listen to him the more you learn to appreciate his playing and his overwhelming musicality. Comparing Drummers is never a useful exercise but I believe there is no one better, more musical or more versatile.

Just my opinion, but one shared, I suspect, by many who are members of the "been playing more than 20 years club."

Paul
 

Bernhard

Founder Drummerworld
Staff member
Ok, now it starts - I saw it come. STEVE GADD!!!! There was a discussion at Pearl Forum at the time with tousands of posts. So happy posting....

One thing: To see what he do is possible, we have slowmotion and and and.....
Then learning it, ok. But then bring to Sound: There it lays....... .To bring this all to live, that it sounds really "gaddish" and then also putting in the right places - not so easy at all - well, let's say for me...

Bernhard
 
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Stu_Strib

Guest
The thing about Gadd is that the product is more important than the process. To disagree with another post, no he DOESN'T actually have perfect technique (look to his scary fulcrum point on his left hand traditional grip...way to far back), but he doesn't care. Its the sound that matters.

He plays amazingly thoughtful parts, that are both difficult to imagine or invent, yet still fit the music perfectly. Where someone would apt to play a simple boom-tap-crash, Steve Gadd invents a linear barrage of across-the-bar 32nd note double-stroked genius that just falls right in place.

I would say (as yet another drummer of the 20+ year playing category) if you don't get Gadd, then you need to listen to more modern music in comparison and just listen to how uncreative, boring, bland, dull and sometimes just plain bad the drummers are.

The other genius part about Gadd is he'll show you the notes, he'll show you how to play them, yet most of us STILL can't get it right.
 
Gadd is some-what like Eric Clapton (slow hand) he only plays the right note(s) at the right time for the right reason. Nothing more and nothing less. They can realy play but never over play.

That beeing said in the three man showdown wekl, gadd and coulitta
Who would you vote OFF the Island?? I'd have to say Gadd.
But if I wanted someone to come up with a cool Groove it would be Gadd.

There all Incredible!!
 
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Stu_Strib

Guest
To further my point that Gadd plays it and we screw it up:

Rick Latham's Funk book has the 50 Ways intro, but he neglects to note that it;s not left hand hi-hat right hand snare lefthihat lefthihat .... one of those double lefts is actually played with the foot. It is a VERY subtle sound difference, but its what makes it groove, GADD-like.
 

Funkmaster O

Junior Member
Hey Bernard...you look kinda Gadd'ish ;o)

I remember when I first heard a recording with Gadd back in the seventies...and it blew my mind right away.
I'm not a drummer...just love drummers...and especially those with great feel and an ear for making a recording memorable.

I just love to watch the old video he made...where he seems stoned out of his mind...but still performs incredibly.

Must say that I feel he has faded somewhat...his work with Clapton is a bit boring...and some of the latest live videos I have seen him on, don't excite me like the old stuff...oh well...he's still a living legend to me.
 

darkcherryfade

Pioneer Member
I like Steve Gadd in the same way that I like Neil Peart. I don't find him to be as much an amazing DRUMMER as he is an amazing MUSICIAN. Although he is a great drummer.
 

LiquidSoul546

Pioneer Member
darkcherryfade said:
I like Steve Gadd in the same way that I like Neil Peart. I don't find him to be as much an amazing DRUMMER as he is an amazing MUSICIAN. Although he is a great drummer.
you obviously don't know steve gadd, or neil peart. haha. the thing is with gadd, he CAN play ANYTHING he wants. alothough age has taken it's part slightly, i bet gadd could do an insane vinnie solo if wanted, or a technical out there weckl solo. that's what i think people neglect. gadd plays what gadd loves, and sure it may be simple in SOME points, but if you listen closely the stuff he plays makes him both an amazing musician and drummer. and besides about .1 percent of the drummin population can exactly replicate his style. and play what he can play, that's pretty amazing to me. with neil, that's a whole different forum to post.
 

michaeldangelo

DW Pro Drummer
Like everyone's been saying...

He's not the biggest chop master in the world. But he doesn't need to be.

His groove is just outstanding, both about the "pocket" and about his originality in taking to songs. Hence "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", "Aja", his stuff with James Taylor, outstanding.

I think if someone hears a musician and they can name that person every time... That's when you know when someone is great...

"Man, that's Steve Gadd..."
 

darkcherryfade

Pioneer Member
LiquidSoul546 said:
you obviously don't know steve gadd, or neil peart. haha. the thing is with gadd, he CAN play ANYTHING he wants. alothough age has taken it's part slightly, i bet gadd could do an insane vinnie solo if wanted, or a technical out there weckl solo. that's what i think people neglect. gadd plays what gadd loves, and sure it may be simple in SOME points, but if you listen closely the stuff he plays makes him both an amazing musician and drummer. and besides about .1 percent of the drummin population can exactly replicate his style. and play what he can play, that's pretty amazing to me. with neil, that's a whole different forum to post.
Don't tell me what I know or don't know, because you don't know me. This isn't about how simple or complex his playing is. I know Gadd can play anything he wants, and that he doesn't want to play Vinnie or Marco Minneman=style solos with ridiculous chops over crazy polyrhythms at blazing speeds. He doesn't play that kind of stuff, and he can't. No drummer can play EVERYTHING. He hasn't needed to play that kind of stuff, and he doesn't need to, and he never will need to. What does that mean? He plays what he needs to play with amazing feel and flavor, which to me is the realization of a great MUSICIAN on any instrument. But his technique and chops don't amaze me, pardon me for not kissing his @ss like everyone says I'm supposed to. To me, an amazing drummer, guitarist, bassist, etc. not only plays with incredible feel and flavor and plays what is needed, but also possesses the technique, control, speed, chops, accuracy and innovation which push the limits of what is believed to be possible on their instrument.
 
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Little Wing

Guest
I've seen Gadd live twice, once with Paul Simon, the otherwise James Taylor. Neither time did he stand out, he just played the most perfectly understated grooves. James Taylor made the crowd give his at least 6 standing ovations, he was that good.
 

SheekLucci

Member
just listened to Al DiMeola - Casino and you'll understand..also that he did Egyption Danza on that cd on first take, while he was on cocaine. yes he as on drugs. also he did steely dan - aja first take also
 

LiquidSoul546

Pioneer Member
darkcherryfade said:
Don't tell me what I know or don't know, because you don't know me. This isn't about how simple or complex his playing is. I know Gadd can play anything he wants, and that he doesn't want to play Vinnie or Marco Minneman=style solos with ridiculous chops over crazy polyrhythms at blazing speeds. He doesn't play that kind of stuff, and he can't. No drummer can play EVERYTHING. He hasn't needed to play that kind of stuff, and he doesn't need to, and he never will need to. What does that mean? He plays what he needs to play with amazing feel and flavor, which to me is the realization of a great MUSICIAN on any instrument. But his technique and chops don't amaze me, pardon me for not kissing his @ss like everyone says I'm supposed to. To me, an amazing drummer, guitarist, bassist, etc. not only plays with incredible feel and flavor and plays what is needed, but also possesses the technique, control, speed, chops, accuracy and innovation which push the limits of what is believed to be possible on their instrument.
well alright, i put my foot in my mouth with that last post, sorry, but in your last sentence of your last post, i believe gadd has all of this. i mean look at his drummerworld page, and check out all the unuiqe quick things that he does in his solos, and for speed and accuracy check out his single ratamacue.
peace
ps here is a shortcut to that page http://www.drummerworld.com/Clinic/Steve_Gaddramaque.html
 
Did you notice in Gadd's Ramaque (from the last post) he leads with the Left hand.
Could he be a lefty that plays Right handed also??
 

darkcherryfade

Pioneer Member
Cool, glad we could clear it up. Now, I've HEARD the man drum. I guess when I pick apart that last sentence, I can definitely say his accuracy and innovation are part of what I DO consider amazing. That's not to take anything away from his speed or chops, those just aren't the aspects of his playing that stand out to me, and they're not at the front of my mind when I hear him play. I don't care that he can play an amazing single ratamacue. Anyone can master rudiments. I care that he can use it musically, because being a good musician is more important to me than just playing an instrument well. I love speed and chops, and crazy intricate time signatures and all the crazy stuff. They're fun as hell, and I love hearing drummers use them because they sound cool, and it's a whole other world of drumming in itself. But musically speaking, it's mostly fluff, and most music doesn't require it. I happen to think that the drummers I consider my favorites incorporate their chops and speed and whatever crazy complexities into what they play with every bit as much soul and feel as Steve does into his playing.
 
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