Steve Gadd

Phoenix, Arizona, US
Artist / Band / Musician
Funk / Jazz / Latin

"Live at Voce" now available at iTunes:

Welcome to The Official Dr. Steve Gadd MySpace page, which

keeps you up to date on what the award winning drummer is doing. To document and preserve his rich drumming legacy, you'll find where and with whom he's playing and what new recordings he's done. Make sure to check out the TIMELINE and HISTORY pages of, too, for more extensive photos and history.

Stephen Kendall Gadd (born April 9, 1945 in Rochester, New York) is an American session and studio drummer, notable for his work with Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Al Jarreau, Joe Cocker, Stuff, Bob James, Chick Corea, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Eddie Gomez, The Manhattan Transfer, Michal Urbaniak, Steps Ahead, Al Di Meola, Manhattan Jazz Quintet, Richard Tee, Jon Bon Jovi, and many others.

Gadd is a native of Irondequoit, a suburb of Rochester, NY. When he was seven years old, his uncle, who was a drummer in the US army, encouraged him to take drum lessons. Gadd became so talented at the drums that by the age of eleven he had sat in with Dizzy Gillespie.

After graduating from Irondequoit's Eastridge High School, he attended the Manhattan School of Music for two years, then transferred to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, playing in wind ensemble and concert bands. At night, he would often play club gigs with other young musicians including Chick Corea, Joe Romano, and Frank Pullara. After Gadd finished college in the late 1960s, he played regularly with Chuck Mangione and his brother Gap Mangione, his first recording being Gap Mangione's first solo album, Diana in the Autumn Wind (1968).

Steve was drafted into the U.S. Army and spent three years as a drummer in the Army Music Program, most of which was spent with the prestigious Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band in Ft. Meade, MD. Following his military service, Gadd played and worked with a well-known band in Rochester. In 1972, Gadd formed a trio with Tony Levin and Mike Holmes, traveling to New York with them. The trio eventually broke up, but Gadd began to work mainly as a studio musician. Gadd also played with Corea's Return to Forever but left the group since he wanted to work as a studio musician instead of touring.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he toured internationally, and recorded with Paul Simon and also with Al Di Meola's Electric Rendezvous Band. Many people assume that he played with the British rock band Charlie, but Gadd, while on his We're on a Mission from Gadd tour in 2005, told fans that was another drummer by the same name - not him. In fact, Gadd said, "I've never met the other Steve Gadd. We happened to stay in the same hotel once, though. I kept getting his messages and apparently he was getting mine."

In 1976, Gadd and other notable session musicians in New York City, including Richard Tee, Eric Gale and Cornell Dupree, formed the group Stuff. Their work included appearances on NBC's Saturday Night Live, both performing on their own and backing Joe Cocker.

By the end of the 1970s, Steve Gadd was one of the most in-demand and influential drummers in the world, with transcriptions of his drum solos on sale in Japan. Chick Corea once 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."

Gadd showed some of these strengths in his work on the title track to Steely Dan's classic Aja album -- highlighted by Gadd's powerful drum punctuation in the coda of the title cut. Corea's straight-ahead jazz albums Friends and Three Quartets, as well as Jim Hall's 1975 album Concierto are good examples of Gadd's jazz playing.

In 2009, Gadd is set to return to Eric Clapton's band to play 11 nights at the Royal Albert Hall. He will become part of Eric's touring band throughout May 2009. Steve previously played and toured with Eric in 1994/1995 and again from 1998 to 2004.

Some of Gadd's favorite drummers are Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham, Buddy Rich, Michael S. Smith, and Louie Bellson.

Steve Gadd was one of the first endorsers of Yamaha drums, which he has played since 1976. He is known for using the "Yamaha Recording Custom" drums, but has recently changed his gear to a setup consisting of "Birch Custom Absolute" toms and a maple bass drum. He has several signature snare drum models, but is most famous for using a chrome over brass Ludwig Supraphonic snare drum. It can be heard on "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", a Paul Simon classic. Gadd first came to the idea of mounting two large tom-toms on a low stand and using them as floor toms. He has been asked to contribute his ideas to develop his own signature series Zildjian K Custom Session cymbals, although he is well-known for having a preference for older K's as well.

Gadd also has signature Vic Firth sticks with his signature on them. The drumsticks are a very light, thin kind, black in color, and normal "wood color" on the tips. There is also an identical model with nylon tips. The stick is also slightly shorter than the American Classic 5A, and features a barrel tip for improved recording sound. It is 15 3/4" (40 cm) long and the diameter is .550" (1.4 cm). Along with having his own signature stick, he also has his own signature brushes. These brushes are intended to solve the problem of wire brushes snagging on new coated drumheads by slightly angling the wires in the top 3/4” (1.9 cm) of the playing end. The wires glide across the head, allowing a smoother sweep and a velvet swish sound.

Steve Gadd has recently been tremendously busy recording, touring, and performing with James Taylor and Eric Clapton. He also produced and recorded 3 albums this year with Mika Yoshida, The Gaddabouts (with Edie Brickell), and his own band, STEVE GADD & FRIENDS. Watch for upcoming tours with David Sanborn, Mika Yoshida and L'Image.

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