The drummer with the very successful rock group Journey for seven years, Steve Smith left the band in 1985 to devote his career to jazz and specifically his group Vital Information. This CD is taken from their tour of August 1989 and features Smith's unit (which also includes Larry Schneider on reeds, guitarist Frank Gambale, keyboardist Tom Coster, and bassist Larry Grenadier) playing a strong set of group originals plus the standard "I Should Care" (a straight-ahead feature for Coster and the rhythm section). Although Coster uses electronics on some of the pieces, much of his date is simply high-quality acoustic jazz; even the funkier material swings.
Pre-dating Steve Perry's solo endeavor by a whole year, Vital Information was a peculiar solo release in an age where singers from highly successful bands were the only ones permitted to venture off into solo endeavors. Steve Smith, the drummer from one of arena rock's best bands ever –Journey – broke the taboo by assembling a small group of musicians and releasing Vital Information, an all-instrumental, seven-song session. Electric jazz in the vein of Pat Metheny and later-era Miles Davis.
Modern electric jazz and the funky soul of the '60s fuse into a rollicking trip down memory lane on WHERE WE COME FROM. Vital Information, the long- lived pet project of leader and world-renown drummer Steve Smith, make a distinctive change from their usual format of hard-edged fusion on this, their eighth album. The emphasis here is on the soulful instrumental grooves of their youth, the music that originally enticed these world-class musicians to take up their instruments in the first place. From the influence of Jimmy Smith, the Meters and Tony Williams' Lifetime, Smith and company serve up a spicy gumbo of groovy tunes and have a grand old time in the process.
Truly one of the greatest 'modern' jazz albums. The album is filled with with wonderfully energetic music. 'Johnny Cat', the song that has gotten air time in local San Francisco Bay Area radio stations was the most popular song, but moody songs like 'In a Low Voice' really show the talents of these well known artists in this genre. I just hit the repeat button for hours to listen to my favorite song on this CD: 'Novato'. Steve Smith is amazingly talented and the talent that he assembles for this album is most impressive.
This is the album to get immediatly if you are into Vital Information or fusion in general. Absolutly the best album from the band, totally mindblowing. Exceptional release. Perfect musicianship from all the guys in the band, Coster and Gambale above all the rest. Incredible jazz-fusion performances! Every track here is a marvel.
Again, a noticeable departure from his work as the timekeeper in Journey, Steve Smith's Vital Information project is straight-ahead, no-frills fusion from the '80s. Orion pretty much stays within the formula that made Vital Information's debut album so catchy and accessible: slick production and smooth musicianship atop a sheer layer of gloss for sonic measure.
This tenth recording from the now legendary quartet reminds listeners that, while smooth jazz often gets better press, there are still fans of honest to God inventive electric fusion who will eat up this type of powerfully rocking and energetic project. Bassist Baron Browne joined the core trio of Steve Smith (drums), Frank Gambale (guitar), and Tom Coster (keyboards) in 1998, and provides a rollicking bouncy energy throughout on tunes like the feisty Herbie Hancock ode "Soul Principle" and the '60s soul-jazz-flavored "Cat and Mouse" (featuring some of Coster's slyest Hammond B-3 lines).
All six DVDs from the Ultimate Drum Lesson series including the following: Fills & Chops, Hand Technique and Rudiments, Advanced Independence & Polyrhythms, Gospel & R&B, Prog Rock, Double Bass.