James Gadson (born June 17, 1939) is an American drummer and session musician. Beginning his career in the late 1960s, Gadson has since become one of the most-recorded drummers in the history of R&B music. He is also a singer and songwriter.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Gadson played with the first line-up of Charles Wright’s Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, and recorded three albums with them between 1968 and 1970. Along with other members of Wright’s band he went on to appear on many hit records including Dyke & the Blazers. Gadson started to become well known as a drummer following the release of the album Still Bill, by Bill Withers, released by Sussex Records in 1972. He played on The Temptations album 1990, released on the Motown label in 1973. In 1975 he played with Freddie King on Larger than life and went on to record with Martha Reeves, Randy Crawford, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, BB King, Albert King, Rose Royce, Elkie Brooks and many more household names. In 1975 he anchored with percussive dexterity the Motown classic double platinum album;
“City Of Angels” recorded by Billy Griffin & The Miracles. James Gadson was also the drummer on Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” 1976 Gadson appeared on two tracks on the 2005 Paul McCartney album “Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard”, “At The Mercy” and “Riding To Vanity Fair”.
He has a brief appearance in the Adam Sandler 2009 movie Funny People as a member of the jam band that Sandler’s character hires to play with him.
In April, 2009, Gadson joined Alex Dixon, grandson of Willie Dixon, on his 2009 release titled Rising From The Bushes, in which he appeared on two tracks, which were “Fantasy” and his grandfather’s famous song “Spoonful”.
In June, 2009, Gadson joined Beck, Wilco, Feist and Jamie Lidell covering Skip Spence’s Oar as part of Beck’s Record Club series, with videos appearing on Beck’s website beginning November, 2009. He has drummed on Beck’s albums Sea Change, The Information and Morning Phase, as well as Jamie Lidell’s 2010 album Compass.