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DVD Review – Steve Gadd: In Session

Steve Gadd: In Session should win some kind of prize for honesty and plainspokenness in the category of drum instructional videos over thirty years in age, because that’s all you get with In Session. Steve Gadd giving session advice from in session interviews and just straight up doing session work. That’s it. That’s not a bad thing, but if you were expecting something that isn’t “Steve Gadd giving session advice from in session interviews and just straight up doing session work” then you’re looking in the wrong place. And yes, I did just quote myself and use italics unnecessarily.

Steve (a.k.a. everyones hero) Gadd is a session drummer so well respected, that the world found it necessary to record him playing in a session environment for the sake of all drummers who wish to garner a speck of insight into his musical mastery in his natural habitat, the studio. Steve Gadd is the guy that defines studio musicians so naturally any session drummer with any sense would want to observe how the best in the business does his thing in the studio, just like how any metal drummer would want to learn his double bass skills from the guy with the best double bass chops.

So is rewindable footage of Steve Gadd doing session work with a few interview clips interspersed worth your money? Maybe, maybe not. Is it worth your time? Yes it is.

Content

I wasn’t kidding when I said “Steve Gadd giving session advice from in session interviews and just straight up doing session work” that’s really all you  get.  There isn’t in-depth analysis of the song he just played; he won’t show you how to play whatever song he ever played on; he won’t show you how to do a really cool stick trick and he for darn sure won’t be doing any gear talk. You’ve got to have a coach mentality when viewing this video to really get anything out of it. Little  is explained verbally so you need to have keen powers of observation to really take away knowledge that can be redly applied in a musical context.  If you’re good at that sort of thing then you’ll get a lot out of this movie. If you arn’t then it will make for a nice watch on a lazy sunday evening. As far as entertainment value I don’t think this is worth buying. Renting yes, buying no. If you can do the observational learning thing then this is most definitely worth a look, maybe even a buy. There are two PDF’s you can download of some funk beats and a transcript of 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. They seem to be totally devoid of any relationship to what was played in the main feature.

Presentation

This is what I’d call a vintage video. Grainy texture, full screen, clothes, hair, everything about this video screams late 70s early 80s. The camerawork is very good for it’s time period, it’s steps above all the hot licks’ productions of that era which makes it much easier to watch than most of the older instructional videos. Given the age and performance of its contemporaries this isn’t a half bad little video. The menu system is easy to operate which is often not true in videos that were re-released on DVD from VHS Not bad at all for a video of its age.

Extras

There aren’t very many… just some bonus footage, some old urls, and a built in advertisement for a bunch of other really really old Steve Gadd videos.

So there you go. It’s a classic that’s worth viewing once for everyone. You’ll have to figure out on your own if you want to buy it or otherwise obtain it for the long term.

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