Steve Gadd is the most acclaimed drummer’s drummer of the past quarter century. From the early 1970s he forged a new era in studio craft with his phenomenal technique and emotionally intense playing. Whatever the music, be it jazz, pop, RnB or fusion, Gadd was simply the best.
Steve Gadd was born in Rochester, New York on 9 April, 1945. Playing drums as a child he also tap-danced with his brother at a local club and was soon drumming alongside visiting name artists, sitting in with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie at age 11. He studied music at the Manhattan School and back home in Rochester where he played with Chuck Mangione. Then came three years in the army where he honed his big band and rudimental skills before he hit the New York scene in 1971, wowing all he played with. He quickly reached the top of the session hierarchy, playing countless dates. His great talent was to bring musicality and soul with an unshakeable groove to music of any style. The breadth of his work is truly exceptional. He’s recorded with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Rickie Lee Jones, Carly Simon, Al Jarreau, James Brown, Joe Cocker, Nancy Wilson, Bob James, Stanley Clarke, Al Dimeola, George Benson, Carla Bley and dozens more.
By the mid-1970s he was making historic recordings. These include his virtuoso outings, such as ‘The Leprechaun’, with pianist Chick Corea; ‘Aja’ with Steely Dan; and several cuts with Paul Simon (including ‘Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover’ and ‘Late In The Evening’) – grooves which lent such startling originality to a popular context that they are now forever part of drumming folklore. The impact of these recordings shook drummers worldwide and Steve became the most imitated player of his generation.
As the recording scene diminished over the past decade Steve moved his base back home to Rochester and in recent years has spent more time on the road. Still in demand, he’s lately toured the world with Eric Clapton and legendary songwriters Paul Simon and James Taylor.