Keltner vs. Gadd

Jim Keltner versus Steve Gadd.

It’s not a competition but I just wanted to put down my thoughts on these two.

Jim Keltner is my favorite.  Steve Gadd is unapproachable and by that I mean his playing.  I have no idea what kind of people they are, never met either one of them but they seem pretty cool.

I watch and listen to what Steve Gadd does and realize I have no hope of ever playing at that level. Very, very few do in this world.  Not that I can’t learn from watching and listening.  He is just so beyond anyone else.

I was watching Steve Gadd in a video for an iphone drum app.  It was about how he turned ratamacues into a groove on his kit.  Instantly as he was counting off with the clicks of his sticks, before a stick even touched a drum he was in a relaxed groove.

Listen to Aja and there is nothing more need be said about Steve Gadd and what he can do.  He is at drum god status.

Jim Keltner is just as good and as prolific in the recording world as Steve Gadd.  But when I listen to Jim Keltner I can at least delude myself into believing that I may be able to play similar to that.

With both of these guys it’s not about flashy technical wizardry and amazing drum solos.

By the way I think “amazing” and “awesome” are currently the two most over used words on the internet.

It’s about knowing the feel and what makes the song special.  Yes, it’s about the groove.

Two years ago I bought Eric Clapton’s Old Sock album when it first came out.  The first time I sat down to listen to it Steve Gadd was playing on the first track “Further On Down The Road”.

As I was listening I thought to myself where are the drums?  But when I really listened to what Steve Gadd was doing I realized and answered my own question.  Man they are right where they need to be.

That’s the trick.  That’s what guys like Steve Gadd and Jim Keltner have mastered, that’s the talent they have been blessed with.  They know exactly what works and where it should go, how it should sound and how it should feel.

I knew this when I was younger but as I grow (which I have been doing for a number of years) I start to really understand what that means and appreciate the talent and work that it takes to play like that.

So no I have no desire to see these two in some sort of steel cage death match drum off.  That’s not what it’s about at all.  They know and I know it’s about the groove.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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