Danny Seraphine, the original drummer for Chicago, is widely and justly praised for his fast hands and steady groove. He is also under-recognized for his compositional insights. What makes him so special is not the fact that he can whip off fancy fills; it’s that he plays the right fills, fills that do something for the song.
Here, his fills, which never lose the sense of the drum groove, create the gentle twists and rises in the road over which the song travels. The sense of motion is created by Terry Kath’s acoutic-guitar strums, and the groove is supported by the entire band.
Note how Seraphine drops his fills at unexpected places . . .
for example the relaxed anticipated cymbal crashes at 0:13 and 0:16
and drags some of them out to create drama . . .
for example at 0:19, and then, more dramatically, at the start of the second verse (1:49) and then the sublime tom-tom fireworks that start with the outro (3:03).
In between all of this, he injects subtle pushes and pulls (for instance, after the first chorus at 1:30). At all points, one can hear his feel in the filling. Each move he makes gives shape to the song's emotion and carries that feeling forward.
It's a joy ride with the windows down.
Thank you for reading.