As Good As it Gets

I’m working a long day today, so for tonight here’s another musical item: a clip of the one and only Steve Gadd taking some extended solos.

These aren’t your typical drum solos. What I love about Gadd’s soloing is the depth of the groove that’s always playing in his head, and that he expresses just as clearly with empty space as by actually striking the drums. He isn’t flashing his chops; he’s dancing.

This is real mastery, and musicianship at the highest level. Enjoy.

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One Comment

  1. Ron D says

    Mal,

    I have a list of favorite drummers a mile long, but Steve Gadd is at the very top of that list. He is A-number-one for me. Being from the same hometown as him (Rochester, NY), I grew up thinking that Steve Gadd was Steve God, as many people have called him.

    I have seen him perform many times, but I have never actually recorded with him. I did mix an album (still unreleased) where he was playing drums of most of the songs. He recorded in AZ, where he now lives, and the tracks were sent to me here in NYC. The songs were done with 14 drum mics, each on their own track. After being a fan of his practically all my life (he is one of the main reasons why I am a musician today), you can imagine the sheer pleasure it was for me to FINALLY get to solo each drum or cymbal and “dissect” his tracks – well, make that just simply marvel at his skill.

    The interesting thing about Steve Gadd’s playing is that I recently read an interview stating that the jazz piano player Chick Corea was surprisingly one of Steve’s biggest influences. Now Corea does indeed play the drums in addition to piano. Drummers know that Steve is all about the rudiments (for those who never heard that term, these are like scales and arpeggios, but for drums). And for us Rochester folks, we know he credits that to his time studying with the great John Beck at the Eastman School of Music. But in the interview, Gadd said that Chick was the one who really showed him how he could be very musical on the drums, not just playing time, or rhythms or bashing the hell out of the drums.

    If you want to hear first hand how musical Chick Corea is on the drums, listen to one of my all time favorite records, “Three Quartets” from Chick Corea (the CD reissue with the bonus tracks). The song, “Confirmation” is Chick on drums, not Gadd. For years I thought it was Gadd playing on this song. Once I found out it was actually Corea, I was blown away.

    Sorry to go on for so long. I guess I am just saying thanks for sharing the classic clip.

    Posted October 11, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink