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Steve Gadd
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Artist Biography

Everything you need to know in one spot.

  • Band/Affiliation: Eric Clapton/James Taylor/Paul Simon
  • Birthday: April 09
  • Country: United States

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One of the most influential drummers of all time, Steve Gadd set a new standard in contemporary drumming techniques and performance, and in doing so launched a thousand imitators. Recording so many legendary drum tracks like "Aja," "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover," "Late in the Evening" and "Nite Sprite," there is no drummer alive today who in some way has not been effected by Steve Gadd. His influence is still very much felt and can be heard in the playing of everyone from Vinnie Colaiuta to Carter Beauford. And still to this day there is no one who can get "inside" a tune and find the "pocket" quite like the great Steve Gadd.

Steve was born on April 9, 1945 in Rochester, New York. Steve's incredibly prolific career started out with he and his brother tap-dancing at a small Rochester club. All the while, he was able to sit in with local musicians and bands, setting the stage for his future musical career. Steve was both inspired, and encouraged to play the drums by his uncle, who had been playing the drums in the Army. At the young age of seven, he began to take drum lessons, eventually from the likes of John Beck, and Bill and Stanley Street, and by the age of eleven, he had developed chops good enough to sit in with Dizzy Gillespie. Steve attended the Manhattan School of Music for two years, and then finished up his studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.

After graduating from Eastman, Steve was drafted into the Army. While carrying out his three-year tour of duty, Steve ended up playing drums in the military band. After leaving the Army, Steve began gigging with a big band in the Rochester area and in 1972, formed a trio with Tony Levin and Mike Holmes. It was after relocating to New York City that Steve became one of the most sought after studio musicians in town. It was as a studio musician that Steve came into his own and worked with such musicians as Chick Corea, Paul Simon, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, Aretha Franklin, Carley Simon, Bob James, Nancy Wilson and Joe Cocker to name a few.

In the 70's and 80's, Steve Cut five albums with Chick Corea, several albums with Al DiMeola including Al's Electric Rendezvous, and recorded and toured with Gato Barbieri, George Benson, Stanley Clarke, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker, Maynard Ferguson, Roberta Flack, Jim Hall and of course, Paul Simon. In 1976 Steve became a member of the group Stuff with Gordon Edwards, Richard Tee, Eric Gale, Cornell Dupree and Chris Parker, while continuing his heavy schedule of studio work.

Towards the end of the 70's, Steve had not only become one of the most in-demand drummers, but he had also become one of the most imitated, and revered drummers in the world.The 90's saw Steve become Eric Clapton's first call drummer, solidifying Steve's reputation as one of the most accomplished and skilled drummers of his generation. In September 2003, Steve was the recipient of Zildjian's second American Drummers Achievement Awards (ADAA) in Boston. The event was hosted by legendary comic Bill Cosby and featured musical tributes by Steve's longtime friends Vinnie Colaiuta and Rick Marotta, and included performances by legendary artists Paul Simon and James Taylor. This incredible and historic event was captured on a DVD and was released in 2004. 2004 also marked the introduction of Zildjian's K Custom Session Series line of cymbals, developed in collaboration with Steve and Zildjian's R&D team.

In 2005, Steve returned to performing drum clinics after a 20-year absence, with Zildjian's "Mission From Gadd" tours, playing in front of sold-out audiences throughout the US and Canada. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music and was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) Hall of Fame.Today Steve is as busy as ever, with one of the most intense recording and touring schedules in the business, spending time in the studio and on the road with Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and James Taylor. Steve's influence on the drumming community can be heard in players from all walks of life, whether they know it or not. His feel, imagination, and abilities are the signatures of his trademark sound.

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