It’s hard to describe how influential Steve Gadd was to me in my up and coming years. When I make a list of drum heros, he’s definitely in the top 5. He radically changed drumming when he exploded onto the scene.
This particular beat can be heard in Al Jarreau’s (I can recall) Spain from the This Time record. Also check out “Easy” from the Breakin’ Away record. If you don’t have it, and I seriously mean this to any serious drummer, you must, must have Breakin’ Away, Jarreau, and This Time. These 3 Al Jarreau records were recorded in the magical 80′s LA session “god” era, with legends such as Abe Laboriel, Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro, and many other of my heroes. All 3 records are simply stunning examples of session playing back when you couldn’t “Pro tools” things and fix them. You actually had to play them!! What a concept!!
Ok, ADD boy, back to the subject. This is one of Steve Gadd’s signature beats, and I’ve been recently been using it on a Reba song called “When Love gets a hold of you.” It works great on this song, because the business of the feel doesn’t draw attention to itself, it supports the music. When playing a groove like this, you really do have to examine whether or not it supports the song, or it draws attention away from the song. It’s a really cool beat. I’m sure there are many other Steve Gadd examples of this groove, let me know some others.
Also, send me examples of really cool, off the beaten path grooves like this that we can break down and talk about. I would love your comments and feedback. Thanks!! t