Steve Gadd, the drummer who contributed the instantly recognisable intro to Paul Simon’s Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover and the iconic drum break on Steely Dan’s Aja, returns to Glasgow on Friday 1st September.
It’s less than a year since the American, whose resume also includes countless other examples of recorded brilliance in sessions with Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Joni Mitchell and many other major personalities, played in the city.
That previous gig found him onstage with James Taylor at the Armadillo. His latest appearance brings Gadd to a much more intimate location, the Mackintosh Church at Queens Cross.
The seventy-eight-year-old Gadd is bringing his soul-jazz trio with Danish musicians, saxophonist Michael Blicher and Hammond organist Dan Hemmer to the Maryhill venue.
It’s one of only two concerts the group will be playing in the UK on its latest tour and Blicher says they can’t wait to play in what he’s heard is a special building.
“For us it’s always great just to play,” says Blicher. “But we don’t take it for granted because we know that, for the audience, this will be an opportunity to experience the world’s most innovative drummer demonstrating his incredible talent close up.”
Blicher met Gadd ten years ago through an event staged by the Jazz Denmark organisation.
Steve loves the directness of the soul-jazz style. It’s bluesy and the Hammond organ gives it a warm sound that appeals to people on a basic, natural level.
The two musicians bonded immediately through their love of soulful music – Blicher’s influences run from Bulgarian folk singing to the folkloric music of Mali, Mississippi, New Orleans and Cuba – and shortly afterwards Gadd agreed to go on tour with Blicher and Hemmer.
They’ve now played over fifty concerts across the world, fitting in engagements with Blicher Hemmer Gadd between their star drummer’s touring commitments with big names including James Taylor and Eric Clapton.
“Playing with Steve is a dream come true for Dan and myself,” he adds. “Steve loves the directness of the soul-jazz style. It’s bluesy and the Hammond organ gives it a warm sound that appeals to people on a basic, natural level.”
The Mackintosh Church gig coincides with the release date of the trio’s fourth album, It Will Be Alright, much of which was recorded on their previous tour and captures the sound they create onstage in their favoured club environment rather than the stadia and huge concert halls Gadd is used to playing with Taylor and Clapton.
“The music we play in Blicher Hemmer Gadd is a style of music that I’m passionate about,” says Gadd. “It’s honest music. No-one plays like this anymore.”