The Gadd Gang Live
" The Gadd Gang Live "
Sony Japan

Blues Wax 8
Reader Rating 8

Bottom Line: Gang of Gadd's Roars, (10/13/08))

Recorded live at the now defunct and legendary Bottom Line Cabaret in New York City, in 1988, the Gadd Gang is one red-hot smoking locomotive express! This CD was previously issued in 1994, and has been re-released once again in 2008 and rightfully so!

A little history about the Gadd Gang: bandleader and drummer Steve Gadd was one of the busiest players during the 1970s and 1980s and formed the Gadd Gang in the late 1980s. They recorded two albums, the first, a self-titled Gadd Gang in 1987, and 1988's Here and Now, both for Columbia Records. The members included Stuff alumni Gadd, guitarist Cornell Dupree, Richard Tee, plus baritone sax player Ronnie Cuber, and standup bassist Eddie Gomez, who Crusader Joe Sample told me, "Gomez is the funkiest standup bass players I've ever heard."

The first thing that grabs you about this excellent live recording is how clean the sound is, which is impressive as this disc was recorded twenty years ago. If you have ever been to the Bottom Line you would know that the sound at that club was one of finest in the city, so it's no surprise that this live recording has so much depth. The vibe of the room is also captured smartly, as the audience is also recorded niftily, and adds to the overall ambiance, so much so you often feel as if are in the room. The festivities kick off in high gear as the band zips through a mighty rendition of Bob Dylan's "Watching The River Flow." Other standouts include that other Crusader Wilton Felder's classic "Way Back Home," followed by Smokey Robinson's "My Girl" (made most famous by the Temptations), which segues into Buddy Miles' "Them Changes." A soulful take of Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" is also a treat, as is Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)," which is delivered at breakneck speed! The encore is Bill Doggett's classic "Honky Tonk" (check out the crowd clapping along), which cleverly rolls into Country singer-songwriter Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You," made ultra-famous by Brother Ray, and judging by the crowds reaction, the Gadd Gang obviously left them more than satisfied with this wonderful performance.

The musicianship is "A+" throughout, as Gadd is often explosive while jamming with the band, as well as with his occasional yet concise drum solos. Guitarist Dupree is also in a very good zone and this disc might offer some of my favorite solos from him. The man with the big horn (baritone player Ronnie Cuber) is also in the pocket, both with his high-paced solos as well as his soulful ballad playing. Eddie Gomez is right there at the right time for all the players in the band and his solos are also kept short, and he's just so full of flavor. There aren't enough words to describe how much Richard Tee's keyboards added to the sound of this band, so we'll just quote Gadd's liners, which state, "This album is dedicated to Richard Tee. Although no longer in this life, his music remains forever in our hearts."

So there you have it, if you like your Rhythm & Blues performed to near perfection and extremely tight playing; seek this disc out, as this is undoubtedly the Stuff (no pun intended). Lets just hope that Sony Music of Japan makes this ultra-solid album available in the United States, as well as the (out of print) companion video, which I have never seen, but I sure would like to!

Bob Putignano: