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Steve Gadd Band: Steve Gadd Band

One of the world's premier drummers returns with the fourth release from his eponymous Steve Gadd Band and this time with an album that also takes on that name. For the uninitiated Gadd may well be best known for his work in jazz circles and yet singing his praises as a collaborator extraordinaire come the likes of Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and Steely Dan. That doesn't even begin to cover the breadth of work this drummer has had a hand in over the years, however, more recent times have seen him become rightly comfortable as focal point and band leader, hence it feels right that this latest statement proudly bears his name. That said, the Steve Gadd Band are no one man endeavour, three long time partners in the shape of trumpet and flugelhorn man Walt Fowler, bassist Jimmy Johnson and guitarist Michael Landau strongly in evidence. With keyboard player Larry Goldings unable to resume his position within the quintet, he recommended Kevin Hays to fill his role; something he does with an assured, if never over confident, ease.

Now an album spotlighting a drummer's name may not sound like the most obvious choice, but Gadd is all about the groove, all about the tone and all about setting the scene. His percussive work is jaw dropping and yet to fully experience its glory, you really have to tune in to the man's playing. The exercise here isn't to dominate or reel off licks and solos, instead the rhythmical point as it should be is to construct the base from which everything else sparks from. Yes, Gadd is busier in places than many drummers but it isn't all 'look at me' it's just an innate ability to wind beautiful rhythms round classy musical frameworks and make it all gel in perfect harmony.

The languid "Auckland By Numbers" is the perfect example of this restraint and poise, as darkly crashing cymbals merely punctuate the brass that floats over gently placed guitar lines. "Foameopathy" offers up more pensive if equally involving bass and brass interjections as it adds a more obvious melody line, while "Rat Race" brings an uncluttered bustle that contains an easy urgency as it builds and builds. "One Point Five" does however cede the point and allow Gadd to shine in a solo setting, the ghost notes on the snare and powerful but controlled cymbal work something to behold, and yet even here there's never an air of expanding beyond the song's remit.

There's little doubt that whether we know it or not we've all heard the work of Steve Gadd countless times, but in this setting you really can focus on what has made him such an indispensable member of the music world for so many years. That he chooses to do so in such a relaxed and poised manner is what makes the Steve Gadd Band album as exciting as it is.

Track Listing
1. I Know, But Tell Me Again
2. Auckland By Numbers
3. Where's Earth
4. Foameopathy
5. Skulk
6. Norma's Girl
7. Rat Race
8. One Point Five
9. Temporary Fault
10. Spring Song
11. Timpanogos

Added: March 17th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
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Hits: 4543
Language: english

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