Steve Gadd: Working with Chick was Inspiring and Confusing

SKF NOTE: Somewhere along the way I paid $4.98 for an interesting book of music interviews and photographs by Julie Coryell and Laura Friedman: Jazz-Rock Fusion: The People, The Music. Ms. Coryell did the interviewing. Ms. Friedman, the photo shoots. I have to fact check this, but I believe I worked with Laura when I was at Modern Drummer. That is, Laura may have done some photo shooting for an MD article or more.

steve_gaddLaura’s black-and-white photo of Steve Gadd has always been a favorite. Right down to Steve’s box of Marlboro’s, butane lighter, and lit cigarette in hand.

This segment from Julie Coryell’s interview has Steve talking about the major impact Chick Corea‘s drumming had on Steve. Gadd spoke about this in another interview (Down Beat?) where he said Chick Corea was explaining and showing Steve Tony Williams‘s concept.

Good stuff worth passing on. 

steve_gadd_coverJulie Coryell: After college you played with Chick Corea. What was that like?

Steve Gadd: Chick came to Rochester and formed a band. Chuck Mangione, Chick, Joe Romano, Frank Polaro, and me. We were working six nights a week. We got into the same kind of stuff that Miles was doing and the influence came from Chick. Working with Chick was inspiring and confusing….

I could play with all my might all night without getting tired, but there was something that just wasn’t happening; there wasn’t a real blend. …Chick was feeling real locked in to the way I was playing, because I was playing a very rhythm-oriented thing….

One afternoon Chick said let’s go down to the club and play. I said great. He ended up playing some drums for a while and I watched him. I said, holy s**t, not because he was a great technician, but just the musical approach — he got so much more music out of the instrument.

Chick had to go into New York for the weekend and…when he came back the band was steaming. I forgot the backbeat, eliminated playing the high-hat on two and four. There’s a thin line between real free-form music and music that’s loose, where one isn’t really heavily influenced. There’s a thin line between when it happens and when it’s b******t.

Steve Gadd circa 1978

Steve Gadd circa 1978


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