Stephen Kendall Gadd (born April 9, 1945) is an American drummer, percussionist, and session musician. Gadd is one of the most well-known and highly regarded session and studio drummers in the industry, recognized by his induction into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1984. Gadd’s performance on Paul Simon‘s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” and Steely Dan‘s “Aja” are examples of his style. He has worked with popular musicians from many genres, including Simon & Garfunkel, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Kate Bush, Joe Cocker, Grover Washington Jr., Chick Corea, Lee Ritenour, and Al Di Meola.
Gadd is a native of Irondequoit, New York, a suburb of Rochester. When he was seven years old, his uncle, a drummer in the US Army, encouraged him to take drum lessons. By the age of eleven Gadd had sat in with Dizzy Gillespie. In a Modern Drummer interview Gadd mentioned that some of his influences at a young age and later on included Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, and the “less is more” style of Rick Marotta.