duke gadd
the gaddabouts
the gadd gang
hudson music
mika yoshida
mission from gadd
prayer for peace
q & a
steve gadd & friends

I met Steve in 1972. He and Tony Levin were walking down West
48st at Manny's Music. Shortly after we found ourselves on both recording and live dates on a regular basis; from Paul Simon's
"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" , Chuck Mangione playing
live at Mikell's with the Tropea Band. In 74 I did my first solo
album (Tropea) and had two drummers on it: Steve and Rick
Marotta. It was an experience I will never forget. We went on
to do two more with double drums in 76 and 78. In the late 80's
and early 90's I had the honor of playing with Steve, Will Lee,
Ronnie Cuber and Ralph McDonald in Richard Tee's band,
both in the USA and Japan. Another musical experience that
was priceless. In 2004 and 2005, he was a major part of my
two "Standard Influence" CD's. As any musician would agree:
we are all blessed with his presence and musicality. Any music
that comes out of me has a piece of Gadd in it!

Here's to you Steve, With much friendship, love and respect,
-John Tropea

As a teenager I was able to do a drum duet with Steve Gadd. For
any drummer this experience is LIFE changing! I knew that day that
one day I would be sitting next to him again. Several years later I
found myself sitting next to Steve at a Yamaha Drums autograph
signing session. Steve is a soft spoken, modest man. I am inspired
not only by his musicianship but also by his human nature. I love
you Steve!! Thank you for inspiring all of us with your genius as a musician and also for providing a role model that teaches us that
no matter how great and close to perfect your talent may be, it is far
more important to be a good human being!!

Forever grateful
Andres Patrick Forero    

Steve Gadd is to drumming as Pablo Picasso is to painting:
modern yet elemental, groundbreaking but earthy, simple yet
complex...and an important/ever-present part of our cultural
panorama. I salute and thank the man whose timekeeping
has become the language of our time

-Peter Erskine 

In Rochester in the '60's, Steve and I were joined at the hip.
Daily rehearsals with the Wind Ensemble and the big band, history
of symphony class, and gigging together in Gap Mangione's band,
from 6:30pm till after midnight. What I picked up; hopefully some
of his exceptional feel for time rubbed off on me, as well as his
openness to new musical ideas. What Steve got from me was only
an occasional peek at my paper during a history of symphony test,
to see stuff like how to compare a late Haydn symphony to an early Mozart one. Yes, I knew a little more than Steve about the subject,
but only a little more. What I did know is that the teacher
wouldn't be bothered reading the papers of the jazz drummers
and bass players in his class.) In later years we played together
quite a bit, but never as full-time as those school years. I remember
them very fondly. My recommendation for Steve's website is that
we try to unearth one of his history of symphony essays, and
publish it here so somebody finally gets to read it and see
how the man actually compares Mozart and Haydn.

Without question one of the most fortunate moments in my musical
life was the day, somewhere in the early ‘70s, when Steve Gadd
crossed my path. Like everyone else, who had migrated to New
York, I came with my various drum heroes all neatly tucked away
in their place of honor in my memory. In my experience, prior to
that moment, I had never seen a drummer take a lead sheet, not
even a specific “drum part”, and while sight-reading it, interpret it
and personalize it at the same moment. As the years were to come
and go, I saw Steve do this on countless occasions, one experience more wondrous than that which had come before. When Steve wants
to play, there is nothing that he can’t do!

In the end, Steve Gadd set a standard for a particular level of
artistry, creativity, swing, groove, and musicality which influenced,
and will influence generations of drummers to come. Congratulations Steve on all that you have accomplished and achieved in your life.
I am forever grateful that you were a most significant part of my first
three recordings as a leader(’77-’79), and for all that you taught
me about what it truly means to be a great musician. I am still
learning from you!

Love to you, Carol, and your family,

Steve Khan
Caracas, Venezuela
September 10th, 2005

I've always admired Steve since we first met when he played with
Joe Farrell at the Village Vanguard,not only his playing, which I'd
already heard on record with Tony Levin & Chuck Mangione,but
as a person who was direct,friendly,serious,handsome(!)
and interested inwhat I was doing as well.

We became good friends and evolved into co-founding the band Stuff.
In that environment,I sat in awe of his command of the instrument,
and admired his musicality nightly,enjoying our dialogues at the
drum sets.I feel extremely fortunate to have worked side by side
with Steve and I'm very proud of the recorded work we did together
with Stuff, The Brecker Brothers and on Saturday Night Live
with Joe Cocker.

With Love and Friendship,


I love drummers, but it disappoints me because they have not
elevated the art of drumming. They've set it back quite a few years.
I think the only guy who made a dent in the change-over, if you want
to call it that, was Gadd.

Steve Gadd was and probably still is, the best at that particular
kind of drumming. I think that's because he has a jazz background,
so he's able to incorporate it when he plays. He was very interesting
in the beginning. Out of all the drummers I've heard, Gadd would
have to be the one who has the most class behind the drums.*


About Steve Gadd- actually Steve worked on Smoke and Mirrors.
As always, it was brilliant to work with him. Steve, Tony Levin,
Jeff Pevar and David Sancious cut the basic tracs in 2 days. It was
a great session and the hang with those guys was memorable. Steve drank 1000 cups of espresso. It was lots of work in very little time
and so not much in the way of social stuff. If you haven't heard the record, you should hear the incredible mood that Steve set up. Many tracks with brushes only. Really sensitive playing
and  the feel is beyond. 

During the 70s Steve and I crossed paths often in NY studios, but I
have no stories you haven't already heard. (He was so busy that NY session players used to joke that Steve was "being fed intravenously between studios.") We were on Paul Simon's One Trick Pony tour together. A special treat for me, playing with Steve & Tony for
months - and very special playing with Tee!

My one unique experience with Steve was The Clams sessions.
It was way out of his regular bag - two-beat ragtime, or "Corn"
as Spike Jones used to call it-but Steve found ways to approach it
from a fresh viewpoint, like playing rhythm with brushes on a NYC
phone book. It was all done as a gag, but we actually had a top-40
hit single come out of it, "Close To You". Talk about something that
could never happen today! CTI released the single, but weren't
interested in a follow-up album (Translation: The Clams got canned!)
so unfortunately several other Clams gems have never been
released. Almost 30 years later, one of those unfinished tracks
would now stand as being totally unique in the Gadd discography.
"The Godfather Theme" was a huge hit record at the time. The
Clams' version had Steve tap dancing, trading 4's with a machine
gun. Never completed and with the master tapes long missing,
I'm sad to report that this precious, landmark moment in music
history is lost forever.


I know the phrase one of a kind is used very often, but in this case,
it really applies.  Steve Gadd is solely responsible for inspiring an
entire generation or more of players and their approach to the music.

 In other words, he's the real thing! 

First of all I have been a huge fan of Steve's ever since I first became
aware of his playing in the mid '70's. One of the first projects that made
me aware of his immense talent and innovative approach was The Leprachaun by Chick Corea. When I heard that I was hooked instantly,
and he changed my view on drumming in one instant, and I
continued to follow his career project by project, right up to this day.

With that in mind you can imagine what it meant to me when I was
hired for my first proffessional NYC recording session and he was the drummer! Not only was his contribution to the date superb as always,
but he and percussionist Ralph MacDonald went out of their way to
make the new kid feel welcome by coming over to me on a break
and saying "Hey - good job, you sound good" and making me
feel at ease. I'll never forget that.

Since then I have had the great fortune to work with Steve a number
of times, including producing dates that he played on! What an thrill
that was. He always brings the highest level of musicianship,  innovative technique and parts, a great attitude, and most
importantly, an earthy deep groove that has made hit records for decades. What else can I say - he is THE MAN!



I went to the Berklee Award thing last year (he & Armand were
honored) ...he was unsurprisingly swamped by people & I asked Jim McGathey (from Zildjian) if he'd (re-)introduce me as I wanted to add
my congrats', figuring at worst he' d say something like
"Oh thank you ..."    

...Jim says, "Steve-this is Dave Mattacks...and he says -

"Dave-how's it going in Marblehead-you moved there, right ?"!!!!    
(I'd heard he'd thought about moving here several years ago...)   
...that really says so much about how he cares for and remembers
things about people-and how many he must meet every week
doesn't bear thinking about -he's just a top chap!  As for the
music, well it's been said before, but it's not hard to hear
 that's what counts with him .....

We both played on Paul McCartney's Pipes of Peace and Tug o f War,
The McGarrigal's Dancer with Bruised Knees (way back when)
...I think there's some other CD's with us both on too,
but I can't recall them... 

Steve Gadd is one of Natures "Noblemen. "He's a pretty good
drummer...and he's got two of the nicest daughters in the world! 

Steve Gadd is one of the greatest drum stylists  of all time! I love
his playing and have listened  to hundereds of recordings featuring
his touch,  time feel, conception, and musicality. He was certainly
a great and important influence on my playing with the original Pat Metheny Group.
In the 70's and 80's, I heard Steve play many times at a variety
of New York clubs. Some of my special memories of those days
 included: standing at the side of the stage at The Bottom
Line club, I think Steve was playing with Stuff, and hearing Steve play just an unbelievable drum solo!!!! I remember standing there, shaking my head, and then flying out the door filled with incredible inspiration and ideas.
Another special evening was spent with best friend, (and no relation
by blood, but by friendship)  percussionist Gordon Gottlieb. We had
one of those special days together and I will never forget it. We
decided to go to Yankee Stadium to see an afternoon  game, and we
met a guy on the subway, named, of all names, Bob Gibson. He had
field level tickets, and gave them to us.... unbelievable seats! On
the way back, we had heard that the championship game of the
short-lived USFL football league was taking place at the
Meadowlands later that night. Should we go? Why not?

So we drove out to the Meadowlands,  and while on line,
someone had extra tickets, on the 50 yard line. Amazing seats,
again!!!!! Had fun, and, on the way back to the city, Gordon
mentioned that Steve Gadd was playing  at The Lonestar, right
near his apartment. Should we go? SURE!!!!! We get there, and
the person at the door puts us in two seats, RIGHT IN FRONT

We were laughing hysterically about the craziness of getting
great seats at ALL events, and we just sat there, loving every
minute of Steve's incredible playing.  I don't even remember the
group, but I remember the drumming! Actually, now that I think of it,
Al Jarreau stopped by, and sat in for a tune. An amazing day,
with Steve at the finale!
I  also remember spending a few moments with Steve on  the road,
while I was playing with the Blues  Brothers Band. Steve and Alan
Rubin were great buddies, and Steve (I think he was  on the road
with the late Michel  Petruciani)  was wonderful and supportive.
Another interesting topic to note....Gary  Chester was  another great, legendary NY studio drummer in the 60's and 70's, and later in life, 
after his incredible studio career, before his untimely passing in
the 80's, became a world renown drumset instructor.  I took some lessons with Gary,  and was involved with helping him get started 
on a drumming text, which was later published as an instruction
book called "The New Breed."  Since Gary's passing, the book has become one of the main texts used in the study modern drumming, 
and specifically in styles that relate to
the innvations of Steve Gadd!
A  few months ago, I was cleaning out a box of old cassettes, and
I saw one labeled: "Gary Chester 1 and 2."  I figured that it was a
tape of me practicing Gary's book. As it turned  out, it was an
interview tape, of me asking  Gary specific questions, to be used for
the  introduction of the book! As it turns out, there are very few tapes
of Gary's lessons, or even his voice. I turned the tape over to  his
family, and they are in the process of editing it for the purpose of including it in future releases of "The New Breed."
The reason I mention it, is many of the questions  I asked
Gary related specifically to Steve  Gadd. The point I was making,
in the discussion with Gary, was that the method book he was
writing contained some very advanced groove and coordination
ideas, that really  were not found in the traditional studio
drumming that Gary himself had played. When you hear him
on "Bad Bad Leroy Brown", or "Do the Locomotion", or
"Do You Believe in Magic?", the drumming was
straight-ahead, as compared to the advanced
coordination exercises in "The New Breed."

My point to Gary, as mentioned on the tape, was that when
Steve Gadd started to be recognized as a studio performer, his
groove style, with creative nuances, became an example of a 
CREATIVE drummer, whose drumming became accepted  as a commercial style. It was something to me that was almost unheard
of before Steve's influence.  I have heard people mention that they
feel Steve Gadd invented "Disco" because he used the device of
playing off-beats on the hi-hat as a musical nuance. It became one
of the main points of our conversation, and when the tape is
released, I hope Steve's fans will enjoy hearing Gary's
responses and comments. And, of course, Gary,
loved Steve's playing as well!
Best regards,
Danny Gottlieb

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. 

From the moment I heard him play, I knew he was special...
and he never let me down.

Forty-four years ago, I walked into Levis music store in Rochester
New York to hear this kid play snare drum...standing in the corner
of the studio was a young man in front of a drum pad with a pair
of snare drum sticks in his hands. I said play something for me...
he did and from that moment on, I knew he was special...
that young man was Steve Gadd.

Here is a memory of Steve's Eastman School of Music Performer's Certificate/Senior Recital performed on
February 16, 1968 in Kilbourn Hall:

Most recitals are attended by a small number of students.
For Steve’s recital, the 450 seat Kilbourn Hall was standing room
only. The featured work on the program was The Eleventh
Commandment (Thou Shall Swing)
by Chuck Mangione. 
Some of the players in the piece were: Vincent Dimartino, Gerald Niewood and Tony Levin. It was conducted by Chuck Mangione.
It was a big success.

On a personal note: Steve has accomplished a lot. He did it in
a style that i admire...he did it musically, drumistically and with
a sense of humility. he was not out to show how well he can play
...but he put the music first...put it in the pocket...and that
is to be admired in today's chops conscious world.


There were all the other great fusion drummers at the time like Lenny White, Alphonse Mouzon and Mike Clark, who were all essentially
great jazz drummers but playing the music of the time. You had Steve Gadd shortly after, who again turned everyone around with his concept.
I think after Gadd it was the Linn drum machine that became the new drum star of the ‘80s.

Steve Gadd
was a big influence. But his concept is based on
so many other people, like Vinnie Ruggerio, Bernard Purdie,
Dave Garibaldi, Elvin Jones and Buddy Rich.    

I knew Steve when we played together with Chuck Mangione.
There was never a problem knowing where the groove was.
Whenever I would get out of the pocket from being overly excited
about playing in such a band, he would bear down on the groove
a little and I knew he was re-establishing his dominance. Some
of that rubbed off on me, I hope, and now I’m one of those
who just share Steve Gadd stories.

The bible says that a musician plays with authority
when he plays with knowing. Steve’s knowing is over the top.

-Don Potter 

Bill Freibergis a fine drummer who made his way in Nashville for
two years before getting the calling to become a doctor.  Bill is in
med School in Philadelphia but will return here, provided, at the appropriate time, he is accepted at U of R.

In Bill's sophomore year, the next to last year I taught at PHS,
('92 - '93), Steve Gadd kindly agreed to come to our school and
speak with kids.  For the session, we had two drum sets in the
band room facing the rear wall. 

Steve has come to PHS several time, earlier, but spring '93
was the first he wanted to come alone.  Previously, he always
brought several other musicians, arriving, playing a set and
leaving.  I think Steve, as Max Roach, Jon Faddis, Freddy
Cole and lots of other great musicians, was nervous either
about being around kids or knowing how to share with students. 
Steve, Max, Jon and Freddy all helped PHS kids, but were
pretty uncertain how things would go. 

I introduced Steve to the kids explaining that Steve was just
back from holiday and had not played in a few weeks.  I asked
Steve if he would show the kids how he "gets back into it." 
Steve agreed and the next 10-15 minutes were exciting and
even stunning.  He explained his warm up, as he progressed. 
The transformation was palpable. It was and is hard to believe
so much audible change could take place in such a short period.

We had put up two drum sets so that several drummers could
play with Steve.  Patrick Forero, then a PHS senior who went on
to Manhattan School of Music and has, for several years, been
William Cepeda's and other's drummers, played first. 
Steve and Patrick had a good time. 

When it was Bill's turn, as you would imagine, Bill was nervous. 
Shortly after beginning, nerves got the better of Bill and, although
he did not fall apart, he lost it.  There upon, Steve began softly
singing Bye Bye Blackbird and, immediately, Bill was back on
track and in the groove.  It was one of the most magical
pedagogical fetes I've seen. 

Steve doesn't, or at least didn't, see himself as a teacher. 
Whatever he thinks he is, he is a kind and thoughtful human being
who knows how and wants to help one in need.  I doubt there is
more any could ask from a teacher.


I feel very honored and priviledged to have been in the studio
recording with Steve Gadd. Also, to have him come in and listen
to or sit in with different bands I've been in. I find it hard to believe
I've been touched by Gadd so many times. I'm blessed.    

I played with Steve on a couple big band gigs in Rochester and
while sitting in once with the Joe Romano Quartet at the first
Rochester Internaional Jazz Festival. At the Romano gig we
played Cherokee and a blues. Trading 8's on Cherokee with
Steve Gadd was one of the musical highlights of my career!    

The first time I saw Steve was when I was a little kid at an
Eric Clapton concert and from that moment the only thing I
wanted to do was play drums. I'm fortunate to have been
blessed with not only being influenced by his playing, but
also by his kindness, humility and love anytime I've been
around him. Listening to him play is like watching an
artist paint; he fills the musical canvas with different
colors to create a masterpiece. He's one of the
biggest reasons why I play music.    
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