Tiger Bill Reviews
Steve Gadd Up Close
In a career that spans more than three decades, Steve Gadd has earned a reputation as one of the most influential drummers of our time. This DVD, aptly titled, features Steve demonstrating many of the techniques he has become known for over the years through recordings he had made with Chick Corea, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, and many others. The majority of the DVD is made up of 15 Chapters, done in question & answer interview style. Let's check it out.
Steve plays a solo, which incorporates his bass drum in rudimental patterns on the drumset.
Applying Rudiments to the Drums
In answer to a question posed by Rob Wallis (Steve's interviewer throughout the DVD), Steve explains how his drum corps experience helped improve his drumset performance. He then breaks down the patterns he played in his opening solo as he explains his application of the rudiments to the kit.
Breathing and Body Movement
Again, prompted by questions from interviewer Wallis, Steve demonstrates how breath control and body motion affect his kit playing.
Bass Drum Technique
Steve explains his approach to bass drum pedal technique, which incorporates his heel on the downbeat and his toe on the upbeat.
Getting Started on Drums
In this chapter, we learn how Steve first became interested in playing the drums through his Uncle, who was a drummer. He also talks about his early days and the opportunities he had to jam with many musical greats, at the ripe "old" age of seven.
Art Blakey, Max Roach, Jack Franklin, Elvin Jones, and Tony Williams are among Steve's major influences. He talks about Chick Corea and how he learned some of Tony Williams licks from Chick himself who, Steve says, has a "nice time feel" on the drums. This segment closes with Steve playing a groove that transitions into a solo.
In this chapter, Steve shows us some of his favorites techniques for strengthening wrists and improving speed. He also explains how many of the things he practiced on the drumset are designed to improve his coordination and give him the ability to "free up" his hands from his feet.
Steve demonstrates the various exercises he uses to develop his "time" feel.
Simulating what a record producer might request at a recording session, Steve plays a variety grooves starting with a basic groove and moving to more complicated, busier sounding grooves.
Playing in a Recording Session
Steve discusses his approach to record session playing and how he works with record producers on a session.
In this chapter, Steve reveals his tips for approaching the initial sight-reading of a drum chart, along with his take on the importance of reading ability to drummers.
"Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover"
A demonstration of the pattern Steve developed for the Paul Simon song, "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover," is the subject of this segment.
Steve explains why he decided to play Paul Simon's tune "Late in the Evening" with four sticks, as he breaks the pattern down and demonstrates it.
This chapter shows us some examples of Steve's favorite Samba patterns, along with his approach to practicing the Samba.
The main section of the DVD concludes with Steve talking about a lesson he learned as he gained experience in drumming. He says he started out playing a lot of stuff on the drums only to realize that the ability to play "less" is even more important.
This DVD not only has the usual options to Play All and Play Selected Chapters, it also has the following bonus features:
- Adobe Acrobat files containing written examples of Steve's approach to applying the Ratamacue and Six-Stroke Roll to the drumset, and a Drum Solo written by Steve. Both of these can be downloaded to your computer and saved or printed for practicing.
- Bonus performances of Steve Gadd performing with a big band and in a duet with Grammy winning percussion Luis Conte. There's also a performance by Virgil Donati.
- Steve Gadd Catalog of his books and videos available on the Warner Bros. label.
- Internet Link you can access when playing the DVD in a DVD-ROM drive on a computer.
Up Close: The Bottom Line
This 60 minute DVD not only gives us insight into the background of Steve Gadd, a true drumming legend, it also gives us a front row seat as he reveals some of the grooves and solo patterns he has made famous over the years.
The bottom line? I'd say a definite thumbs up. It doesn't matter whether you're a Gadd fan or not, this DVD provides you with tips and techniques that will help you become a better drummer. At a retail price of $39.95, it belongs in the library of every drummer.
Save money by purchasing this DVD at a discount online: Up Close, Steve Gadd DVD
And, if you'd like transcriptions of all that Steve demonstrates on this DVD, you can get the companion Book: Steve Gadd Up Close - Book/CD