BY LIBOR HADRAVA | FROM THE FALL 2018 ISSUE OF DRUM!
One of the most highly acclaimed and prolific drummers in history, Steve Gadd shifts once again into the position of leader and producer to bring the self-titled fourth Steve Gadd Band album to life. Each of the five band members contributes original songs, bringing a wide variety of moods, styles, textures, and tempos to this 11-track trip to sonic heaven.
‘ONE POINT FIVE’
The first two measures of “One Point Five” are played on the hi-hat and with the cross–stick in unison, except for the very last note. One thing that makes this groove so catchy and unique is the way Gadd uses his hi-hat foot rhythmically — as well as the actual sound of it. I found out that when I played the hats flat rather than with my heel up — almost as if I wanted to splash it — the sound was very close to the recording.
‘I KNOW, BUT TELL ME AGAIN’
Gadd gives many valuable tips and ideas in the first few measures of the first track on the album, “I Know, But Tell Me Again.” For one, notice now the cross-stick here gets treated dynamically the same as the snare drum by using ghost notes and accents. Other small nuances contribute greatly to the powerful groove buildup in these few measures: straight eighth-notes on the hi-hat in the first half of measure two; tasteful open hi-hat at the end of measure two; dropping some of the cross-stick ghost notes to allow the percussion instruments to pick them up; and cross-stick syncopation in measure six.
The ride bell pattern in the first two measures of “Timpanogos” immediately sounded familiar. It has an Afro-Cuban Mozambique feel like Gadd played on Paul Simon’s “Late In The Evening,” but here he throws in Cascara and Mambo-like toms, and switches the feel after the first two measures to 7/8, followed by 9/8 to create yet another amazing groove.
The intro to this song is in 7/4 and gives us a classic example of Gadd’s solid groove and pocket. The opening groove changes very little. The only real deviations are that the last hi-hat in measure two is replaced with a bass drum, and the beginning of measure four has two eighth-notes on the hi-hat like the beginning of measure one. In order to get really used to and comfortable with this groove in 7/4, try looping measure three and eliminating the accents and open hi-hats at first. Then add them back in when you’re comfortable with the groove.