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Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd, b. Rochester, New York, April 9, 1945. Uncle, a drummer in the army, encouraged him. Drum lessons from age seven; sat in with Dizzy Gillespie at 11. Studied music at Eastman College, Rochester, playing in wind ensemble and concert band, and at nights in a club with Chick Corea, Chuck Mangione, Joe Romano and Frank Pullara.

After college, drafted into army and spent three years in a military band. After the army, gigged and worked with a big band in Rochester. 1972, formed a trio with Tony Levin and Mike Holmes, going to New York with it. The trio fizzled out, but Gadd began to work extensively as a studio musician.

He also played with Corea's first Return to Forever. 1970's and 1980's, toured internationally, recorded with Paul Simon and with Al Di Meola's Electric Rendezvous Band. By the end of the 1970's Gadd was the most in-demand and probably the most imitated drummer in the world.

In Japan transcriptions of his solos were on sale, and all the leading Japanese drummers were sounding like him. Chick Corea commented, "Every drummer wants to play like Gadd because he plays perfect... He has brought orchestral and compositional thinking to the drum kit while at the same time having a great imagination and a great ability to swing."

Steve Gadd is one of the most sought-after studio musicians, in the world. Regarded as the most influential drummer in contemporary music, Gadd can play anything, easily bridging different musical styles. His feel, technique, and musicality on such tunes as Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways", Steely Dan's "Aja", and Chick Corea's "Nite Sprite" were so awe-inspiring and his concepts so innovative that they instantly assured his special position in the history of the percussive arts.

Awards

Steve Gadd has won many prestigious awards in recognition for his outstanding, versatile work in music world. In 2002, he was presented Drummer’s Collective Award. In 2003, he won Zildjian American Drummer’s Achievement Award. In 2005, Gadd received honorary doctorate from renowned Berklee School of Music. In the same year, he was inducted in the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.

Gear

Steve Gadd's name was for many years synonymous with the Recording Custom kit. Indeed the association led in no small part to the RC9000 becoming the most popular professional kit in the world during the 1980s. Steve popularize small 10 toms and introduced floor tom-tom stands. He still likes birch tom-toms, but recently has preferred a maple bass drum. His Clapton kit comprises 22x14 Maple Custom Absolute bass, 12x8 and 13x9 hanging, and 14x12 and 16x14 floor-mounted Birch Custom Absolute toms. Other times he uses a small 10x7.5 tom, which he made famous in his studio days, and drops the 13 tom. For live work he prefers his steel 14x5.5 signature snare drum. There are five other Steve Gadd signature models in the series.


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Liner Notes

Steve Khan: Arrows

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Album Review

Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, Ronnie Cuber, WDR Big Band: Center Stage

Read "Center Stage" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Mixed emotions must underline this review. Center Stage, featuring bassist Eddie Gomez, drummer Steve Gadd and baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber with Germany's superb WDR Big Band conducted by Michael Abene, was recorded in Cologne in January and February 2022. Sadly, Ronnie Cuber passed away in October, shortly after the album was released. If this was Cuber's last hurrah, it thunders loudly above the rooftops, as his solos (on each of the album's nine numbers) and melodic passages ...

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Album Review

Rob Silverman: Drumology Volume 3

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The beat goes on. Yes, that was a big hit for Sonny & Cher back in 1967. However, here it references the third volume of drummer Rob Silverman's Drumology series. The formula seems to be working, so why not keep pounding them out? Again all proceeds go to the Neil Peart Fund for brain cancer research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. And the core band stays intact, with Silverman being joined by brother Michael Silverman on piano and keyboards, bassist Larry ...

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Album Review

Hermine Deurloo: Riverbeast

Read "Riverbeast" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


On Riverbeast, Dutch harmonica player Hermine Deurloo winds her way through a wide variety of musical settings. And with Kevin Hays manning the piano, Tony Scherr holding it down on guitar and bass guitar, and Steve Gadd behind the kit, there's no place she can go where a comfortable feel won't follow. The album opens on Deurloo's “The Man with the Hat (on the Train)," a setting using a Steely Dan-worthy foundation to support a simple and catchy ...

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In Pictures

Steve Gadd Band At Lavanderia A Vapore In Collegno

Read "Steve Gadd Band At Lavanderia A Vapore In Collegno" reviewed by Carlo Mogavero


The performance by the Steve Gadd Band at Lavanderia a Vapore in Collegno (Turin), was one of the most remarkable concerts organized in Piedmont during these first three and a half months of 2018. The band included Steve Gadd, Kevin Hays, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Landau and Walt Fowler and the sold out show featured mostly original compositions with many inspired and powerful solos both by the band and its leader. ...

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Live Review

Jazzkaar 2017

Read "Jazzkaar 2017" reviewed by Martin Longley


Jazzkaar 2017 Tallinn, Estonia April 21-30, 2017 Jazzkaar covers most territories. This exceptional 10-day festival presents the best players on the indigenous Estonian scene, imports big-name acts from the USA, and also invites some choice artists from around the rest of Europe. Some shows represent jazz in mainstream mode, whilst others twist towards the innovative. There is also a strong commitment to bands who skirt the edges of rock, pop and electronica, as well ...

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Interview

Steve Gadd: Consummate Drummer

Read "Steve Gadd: Consummate Drummer" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


It might be easier to list who drummer Steve Gadd hasn't played with since he got a pair of drum sticks at the age of three at his home near jny: Rochester, NY, right up to the age of 70, where this year his tour of duty includes Eric Clapton, James Taylor and his own band. Gadd is one of the great maintainers of the groove and one who can also play his ass off with jazz musicians like Chick ...

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Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Electric Chick...

Verve Records
2023

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Center Stage

Leopard
2022

buy

Drumology Volume 3

Autumn Hill
2022

buy

Riverbeast

ZenneZ Records
2020

buy

Steve Gadd Band

BFM Jazz
2019

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Videos

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