An enthralling show from Steve Gadd’s band at Ronnie Scott’s. From my Times review:
When drummers are also bandleaders they tend to make a point of letting the audience know who is in charge as often as possible, courtesy of a manic salvo of fireworks. Steve Gadd isn’t averse to such displays from time to time, but the dominant theme of this remarkable set was restraint. Here were five hugely accomplished musicians who were listening to each other as intently as members of a string quartet.
Even people who don’t know his name will probably have heard Gadd at some point or other, whether on a Paul Simon album or in an Eric Clapton concert. Even now, 40 years on, fans can still parse every stroke of that famous solo on the title track of Steely Dan’s Aja.
The group he brought to Ronnie Scott’s this week straddles jazz, R&B and pop with astonishing fluency. Not a note was wasted in a 90-minute set that constantly shied away from over-familiar standards. Keith Jarrett’s serene Country nestled alongside Wilton Felder’s Way Back Home, a Crusaders tune that was stripped down to its essentials over a white-hot funk riff from the guitarist Michael Landau. It was a rare example of a cover version eclipsing the source material.