Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd ( born April 9, 1945 in Rochester / New York) is one of the most influential and renowned percussionists in the music business. He coined the drum world forever, as many new grooves and figures go back to him, such as the rhythm of Paul Simon's " 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover". He became known for his work with artists such as Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker, Bob James, Chick Corea, Eric Clapton, Randy Crawford, Eddie Gomez, The Manhattan Transfer, Michal Urbaniak, Steps, Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Barbra Streisand and Peter Gabriel.

Life and work

Steve Gadd began his career as a drummer at the age of three years. His uncle, an Army drummer who encouraged him to take drum lessons. At the age of eleven years has played Gadd in several clubs of his hometown with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Gene Krupa, but also drummed in the Drum Corps his school. After high school, he attended the " Manhattan School of Music." He studied classical percussion with John Beck. He then moved to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. During this period he regularly played concerts in clubs with young musicians such as Chick Corea, Tony Levin and Chuck Mangione. After graduation, he was during his army service for three years one of the two drummers in the " U.S. Army Stage Band ".

After the army time Gadd was in 1972, a trio with Tony Levin and Mike Holmes and returned to New York. One of his most important first gigs in New York was with Mike Mainieris White Elephant ( with Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker and Warren Bernhardt ). Gadd began his studio work for Creed Taylor's CTI Records and played for Hubert Laws, Joe Farrell, George Benson, Jim Hall, Paul Desmond and Chet Baker.

The big break came for Gadd almost overnight with the recording of the Paul Simon album " Still Crazy After All These Years " in 1975. His rhythms to " Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" (or later "Late in the Evening " ) set standards for song accompaniment and are still considered milestones. With his first studio work in the same year for Chick Corea's album "The Leprechaun " he gained high praise.

The late seventies, Gadd was one of the busiest and most influential drummers worldwide. Both his wide range of styles as well as his precise rhythmic game with absolute safety in any tempo contributed significantly to its success. At the same time, he influenced with his unerring sense of the groove and its transparent, extremely creative and musical drummer play a whole generation. His influence on drummers like Dave Weckl and Vinnie Colaiuta is unmistakable.

In Japan, transcriptions were to buy his drum grooves and solos and almost all leading Japanese drummers sounded like him. Chick Corea said about Gadd: "Every drummer wants to play like Steve Gadd because he plays perfect ... He has orchestral and compositional thinking introduced in the drumming, while he has a great musical imagination and the ability to swing. "

His drum solo in the final part of " Aja " (1977), the eponymous album by Steely Dan, is still regarded as a classic and is repeatedly named by drummers as a significant influence. Corea's albums " Friends" ( 1978) and "Three Quartets " (1982 ) and the live album of " Steps - Smokin 'In The Pit " are good examples of Gadd's virtuoso jazz drumming.

In 1983 the world's first drummer instructional video "Up Close " was released, which is considered a classic of the genre. The following appeared in 1985, a further instructional video Gadds under the name " In Session ".

Between 1985 and 1989, Gadd focused on his own band "The Gadd Gang," was with her worldwide concert tour and released four albums. During this time he was also a permanent member of the band of David Matthews ' Manhattan Jazz Quintet " and enjoyed great success with tours and albums in Japan. After the progressive studio technique ensured that the offer markedly decreased in interesting jobs, he's since the nineties increased alongside selected studio sessions as a live drummer in the bands of Carly Simon, Al Jarreau, Tania Maria, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Michel Petrucciani, Eric Clapton ( Riding with the King) and listen to Chick Corea. In addition, he continues on with the Manhattan Jazz Quintet and musicians such as Tom Scott, Bob Mintzer, David Sanborn, Bob James and Al Di Meola.

In 2005 he organized again drum clinics in the U.S.. The "Mission from Gadd " tour was a great success and reached its third edition in June 2006. In 2010, Steve Gadd 's "Mission from Gadd " tour successfully in Europe continues.

Steve Gadd in Karlsruhe 2010 - As part of its "Mission to Gadd " Clinic Tour.

Some favored by Gadd's drummers are Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette, Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson. Gadd is considered alongside Bernhard Purdie, Hal Blaine, John JR Robinson, Peter Erskine and Jeff Porcaro as one of the most recorded drummers in history. The list of publications includes more than 750 albums.

Gadd is married and has four children.

Awards and prizes

On September 13, 2003 Gadd was honored by the " Avedis Zildjian Company" in the second "American Drummers Achievement Awards " ( ADAA ) at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston and excellent. On 23 September 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music.


Gadd plays since 1976, Yamaha Drums. The Endorsementvertrag between Yamaha and Steve Gadd helped that the Recording Custom Kit ( RC9000 ) was the world in the 1980s to one of the trendy professional kits. Steve made ​​small 10 " Toms popular and led a floor tom stand. He plays Yamaha Signature Snares. Meanwhile, Yamaha has five Steve Gadd Signature Snares on offer. Gadd plays Zildjian cymbals. A separate pelvic line - the " K Custom Session" Basin - were introduced in 2004. Gadd plays Signature sticks and brooms from Vic Firth.

Recordings (selection)

  • Gaddabout - 1984
  • The Gadd Gang - 1986
  • The Gadd Gang - Here & Now - 1988


  • Paul Simon - One Trick Pony - 1978
  • Grover Washington, Jr. - In Concert - 1981
  • Simon and Garfunkel - The Concert in Central Park - 1982
  • Up Close, Steve Gadd - 1983
  • In Session, Steve Gadd - 1985
  • The Gadd Gang - Live - 1988
  • Paul Simon - Concert in the Park - 1991 ( VHS)
  • Eric Clapton, Steve Gadd, Marcus Miller, Joe Sample, David Sanborn * Legends - 1997
  • Michel Petrucciani Trio - Live in Concert - 1998
  • Eric Clapton and Friends - 1999
  • Paul Simon - You're the One ( In Concert from Paris) - 2001
  • Michael McDonald - A Gathering of Friends - 2001
  • Chick Corea - Three Quartets Band Live - 2001
  • Drummers Collective - 25th Anniversary - 2002
  • Eric Clapton - One More Car, One More Rider - 2002
  • The American Drummers Achievement Awards - 2003
  • Eric Clapton - Sessions For Robert J. - 2004
  • Musicares - Tribute To James Taylor - 2006
  • Steve Gadd - Master Series by Hudson Music - 2008