In my music school days of the early 70's when I wasn't playing I was in the clubs hanging out. On this night I found myself in front of a long forgotten Jazz club called Boomers. I walked in, got a seat at the bar and taking the stand was Steve Gadd. I had never heard of or seen Steve Gadd until he was introduced at the beginning of the set.
What followed blew my mind and changed how I thought about and played the drums. He was totally inside the music, He didn't hit ensemble figures he played them as music without being obvious about it and that groove, whew! I had never heard anything so settled or integrated.
What really got me was a tune with a Mozambique rhythm. I knew the pattern from playing in Latin bands as a hand percussionist. The Mozambique is driven by the timbales and the Bombo or bass note (in a 2-3 clave, the Bombo is the second beat of the clave). This was the first time I heard the rhythm played by a single player on the drum set.
Steve's most celebrated performance of the Mozambique would come later on Paul Simon's "Late in The Evening". Truth Be told, the Mozambique is not that hard to adapt to the drum set, getting it to feel right is a totally different issue.
The ability to play all the parts of a latin groove on drum set was unheard of before Steve.
This is what a game changer does, he upsets the balance of the status quo and creates a new direction and possibilities. I know that he knocked me for a loop, after hearing him I seriously began thinking about a new line of work. How could I learn to play like that. The truth was and is that I would never be able to,
What it did do was inspire me to hear the infinite possibilities of the drum set and you can't ask for more than that.
The Groove Continues...