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Steve Gadd Band: Way Back Home-Live From Rochester, NY (CD/DVD)

Birthdays and homecomings can be very special occasions for many people, and on June 26, 2015, acclaimed drummer Steve Gadd was able to celebrate both in front of friends, family, and students in the town of Rochester, New York at the Eastman School of Music during the Xerox Rochester International Festival. Not only did Gadd grow up this upstate New York town, but he also went to college at Eastman, so this really is a true homecoming in more ways than one. Along with his band that includes trumpet player Walt Fowler (Frank Zappa, George Duke, Billy Cobham, Buddy Rich), guitarist Michael Landau (Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Pink Floyd, Steve Perry, Michael Jackson, Roger Daltry), keyboard player Larry Goldings (Michael Brecker, Jack DeJohnette, Maceo Parker, Jim Hall), and bassist Jimmy Johnson (Allan Holdsworth, Lee Ritenour, Stand Getz, James Taylor, Derek Sherinian), Gadd and Co. tear through material from recent albums 70 Strong and Gadditude as well as a few notable covers and original pieces. The crowd hangs on every note, and you can certainly feel the love in the air between the audience and the band, especially Gadd.

As someone who has played with virtually everyone, from Chuck Mangione, to Paul McCartney, to Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Chick Corea, and Eric Clapton, it should come as no surprise that the legendary Gadd would surround himself with world class musicians for his solo band. That is indeed the case, as each one of these players have had storied careers of their own, and now together they have formed one lean, mean, jazz machine. Many of the tracks on display here are lengthy and provide for lots of room for the members to stretch out, as on the funky jazz of "Green Foam", the groove laden "Cavaliero", and Jan Hammer's wild "Oh, Yeah!". While Landau's tasty blues/rock/jazz licks, Goldings' array of keyboards, and Fowler's bleating trumpet provide for most of the solo explorations, the leader of course bursts through with plenty of percussive fireworks of his own, much to the delight of the crowd. He's always been one of the more original and innovative drummers around, and he's in fine form on this evening. Landau's "Africa" is another wonderful piece, nearly 11-minutes of sublime, bluesy jazz, the guitarists liquid runs supported by Goldings' sultry organ and gentle rhythms, and the rousing rendition of Buddy Miles' "Them Changes" sees the band rocking out with plenty of funk and fire.

Seeing and hearing the audience giving the band a standing ovation while singing happy birthday to Gadd is a wonderful moment, and you can see the emotion welling up on his face as he stands and applauds back to the crowd. This set includes the full concert on DVD, and an abbreviated set of 8 tracks on the CD, while a bonus DVD of interviews with friends & family, plus the man himself in a sit down discussion with fellow drummer Rick Marotta gives a great inside look at man & the musician known as Steve Gadd. Wonderful stuff!

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1) the Windup
2) The Long Way Home
3) Green Foam
4) Cavaliero
5) Africa
6) Duke's Anthem
7) Way Back Home
8) Bye Bye Blackbird
9) Sly Boots
10) Desu
11) Oh, Yeah!
12) Them Changes

Added: September 22nd 2016
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 3635
Language: english

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