Behold, the easy roll of James Gadson’s time.
In no way does he attempt to impose himself on the song. Rather, he offers an irresistible foundation upon which the performance is built. Note the casualness with which he barks his hi-hat barks. These touches are never over-emphasized. (Had he over-emphasized them — “Check out my hi-hat barks!”— it would pull listeners out of the spell cast by the groove and the singing.)
The ease with which Gadson’s groove rolls is crucial, because the arrangement is filled with rhythmic counterpoint and surprise, and yet it remains unassuming. This is the essence of funk.
And stepping back to take in the entire track, one has the sense of a roomful of musicians channeling their performance up from the ground beneath the studio floor. All of that comes down to the easiness of Gadson’s generous groove.
Thank you for reading.