Drum master Steve Gadd is among the most respected and emulated musicians in the world—an anomaly whose panache for playing precisely what a piece of music requires plus bringing signature taste, style and energy to the proceedings has resulted in hundreds of the most rhythmically exhilarating moments in recorded music history, across genres. Steve turned 70 on April 9th and commemorates the milestone with the release of “70 Strong,” the second CD by the Steve Gadd Band. The panoramic sound palette of groove and grace features Larry Goldings on keyboards, Walt Fowler on trumpet, Jimmy Johnson on bass and Michael Landau on guitar.
Since the beginning of his illustrious career, pianist Joey Calderazzo has mainly played in quartets led by remarkable saxophonists, namely Michael Brecker and Branford Marsalis. As a musician and composer, he had become comfortable in this format, developing an intensity in his playing and composing that those ensembles’ size demanded. Calderazzo saw the establishment of his trio as a means to strengthen his craft by working on material and musical concepts that he would not ordinarily work on. In light of the progress he has made in that format, Calderazzo views his new recording, “Going Home,” as a snapshot of a work in progress, an experiment that continues to progress and wield an abundance of intriguing results.
Also this week, guitarist Phill Fest, the son of bossa nova pioneer Manfredo Fest, offers up a bit of samba-jazz with “That’s What She Says”; singer Jose James features music from the Billie Holiday songbook with “Yesterday I Had the Blues”; and trombonist John Fedchock and his quartet are captured live in Virginia Beach on “Fluidity.”