Originally Posted by Womble
Um, Stu....Please do not quote my question "Anyone else ever thought that the the 50 Ways beat just doesn't really fit the song" as a demonstation of a general 'misguidedness' and ignorance. I am an enormous fan of Gadd; I love his playing for all the reasons you have stated; I love countless grooves he's laid down, but I happen not to think that particular one fits that song - great pattern though it is!
However, I do agree with whoever expressed frustration at Gadd's endless repetition of his licks. There are obviously a hell of a lot of people who are happy to go to a Steve Gadd clinic, and watch him play his licks over and over again. Personally, I think it would be interesting to see the guy stretching his enormous talent, and continuing to innovate like he once did, rather than giving the crowds the quasi-drumming-pornography that Gadd playing his licks now is.
but gadd does not just "play his licks." does he have licks? yes. does he play them? yes he does. but that is perhaps the least important part of what he has done as an innovator on the drum set.
gadd redefined playing our intsrument. he grew to fame during the 70s when having perfect time was not a primary concern, and he had perfect time. he was precise and clean in his playing when precision was not important. and he maintained that precision and perfection of time while also playing openly (both in style and more importantly in technique) which had never really been heard mastered, especially in the musical context where he did most of his work. his concept of musicality was both incredibly simple and highly complex, giving him the ability to play next to nothing and yet do it in a way no one else would ever think of, but always first and foremost in the service of the song.
it's all about his feel. no one has a feel like he does. no one can play so perfectly and so innovatvely and yet still be so relaxed. it's like he's breathing into it, as though he played saxophone instead of drums.
there's a reason he's done more session work than nearly anybody else. and as much as i love it, it's not because of that cool paradiddle lick with the hi-hat.