Re: So, what is it with Steve Gadd
To the OP-- In the past, I probably would have agreed with you. And yes, it is definitely true that Vinnie or Dave may have played more technically difficult licks in that video with the three of them playing. But above all other things, Steve Gadd makes a song groove. He can play a drum part that makes you want to dance. Basically, that's the end of it. Of course I don't mean to say that Steve does not have technically ability or chops, because he most definitely has more than he needs, he just uses them with taste, which is #1. The way I see it, Steve Gadd has accomplished the incredibly difficult task of being a drummer who is totally detached from his playing, always merely a spectator to his own drumming, and always listening, no matter what he is playing.
I know what you might be thinking--and this is because I thought the same thing in the past--you watched the video of the three drummers soloing and you thought that Steve Gadd sounded bad. I think that's understandable, especially since I'm arguing that he is one of the best-sounding drummers in the world, but it doesn't matter if you personally think he sounds bad. I think on one hand you have to consider that everyone has different taste in music and maybe you just didn't dig his style in that video. But on the other hand--and no offense because I mean this in the best way possible--I think you have to consider if you are really just listening for pleasure. I have committed the drumming crime before of listening to a drummer with mad chops just thinking, "this guy is insane!! How did he play that lick?? Is he using double bass?? what's the sticking?? I need to be able to play that complicated!!" And it is nice to see a drummer who has really shed stuff and can play his butt off, but for any regular person who doesn't care how good a drummer is--and we shouldn't care either, we should just care if he sounds good--they will only listen to how groovy his or her playing is. I think it was Steve himself who was quoted as saying (I'm paraphrasing) "It's all about the groove. Nothing else matters."
Also, if you need any more proof, just look at what Pat has said above about Steve's enormous career. Lots of people really dig the sound of his drumming.
"If you think you're more important than the drums, you've got another thing coming." -Tony Williams