189

Vital Information: Live Around The World: Where We Come From Tour 1998-1999

Todd S. Jenkins By

Sign in to view read count
It’s always refreshing to hear good fusion and contemporary jazz groups in live performance, away from the sometimes chafing studio glister of their recordings. This collection is an especially valuable treasure, documenting a spellbinding tour by one of fusion’s hottest supergroups. The members of Vital Information consistently astound listeners with their seasoned intuitiveness and mind-boggling virtuosity. Keyboardist Tom Coster honed his chops with the likes of Cobham and Santana; drummer Steve Smith has a formidable rock-jazz resume (including Journey and Steps Ahead), and guitar giant Frank Gambale has graced too many excellent fusion sessions to count over the past twenty years. Of particular interest here is bassist Baron Browne, a former sideman of Billy Cobham and Jean-Luc Ponty who enviably replaces veteran VI bassman Jeff Andrews. Browne certainly knows his way around jazz electric bass styles, from Monk Montgomery to Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius, with plenty of his own personal style blended in.

Most of the material here is taken from the band’s studio albumWhere We Come From, but there are many surprises included along the way. Among the unexpected highlights are a mysterious reading of John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.”, Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” (which kicks off with a finger-busting solo by Browne), Ornette Coleman’s “Happy House”, and a Jack McDuff classic called “Soulful Drums” (this is a studio bonus track, as is Disc 1, Track 9). The very first track exemplifies the vacuum-sealed interaction of the group as the tempo drops drastically over the course of a few bars and picks up again quickly. Disc 2, Track 1 is a drum feature that flaunts Smith’s rhythm pedigree in grand fashion. Disc 2, Track 3 is funky in the Jimmy Smith vein, Coster holding down a groove so greasy it practically slides offstage. Coster picks up his accordion for Disc 2, Track 4, a slow lament he co-wrote with Carlos Santana and which is a staple of tenorist Gato Barbieri’s repertoire. On Disc 1, Track 3 Coster even manages to alternate rapidly between the organ and accordion, with humorous but effective results. All the members’ past work experience and influences flow freely together to create an ensemble like no other. This is an unbelievably magical set that could and should win the band, and the genre of fusion itself, many new fans.


Track Listing: Disc 1

Personnel: Steve Smith, drums; Tom Coster, Hammond B-3, Korg Trinity, accordion; Frank Gambale, guitar; Baron Browne, bass.

| Record Label: Intuition | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Black Ice" CD/LP/Track Review Black Ice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Out & About" CD/LP/Track Review Out & About
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "The Real Deal" CD/LP/Track Review The Real Deal
by James Nadal
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "B'shnorkestra: Global Concertos" CD/LP/Track Review B'shnorkestra: Global Concertos
by Paul Rauch
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Garden 2nd Set" CD/LP/Track Review Garden 2nd Set
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Real Feels - Live Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Real Feels - Live Vol. 1
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!