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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Smith and Vital Information NYC Edition: Viewpoint

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Drummer Steve Smith has a knack for separating his musical interests and satisfying his varied musical appetites through the use of different bands. But with Viewpoint, he works the inverse angle: Smith's passions and groups converge here, as his respect for the history of jazz, infatuation with sleek modernism, and love of Buddy Rich all inform the music. Consolidation is the guiding principal here, as signaled by the choice of repertoire and the commingling of musicians from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Smith and Vital Information: Live! One Great Night

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Drummer Steve Smith means different things to different people. Arena rockers will always think of Smith as the rhythmic force that drove Journey's hits, while straight ahead jazz fans appreciate him as a keeper-of-the-flame, honoring the great drummers of the past through his work with his own Jazz Legacy group. Others rightly view him as a clinician and educator par excellence, sharing his extensive knowledge in person or through his educational DVDs, and yet another segment of people see him ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Steve Smith and Vital Information: Live! One Great Night

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Steve Smith and Vital InformationLive! One Great NightBFM2012Even now, the two questions probably most asked of Steve Smith go something like, “Hey, are you the Steve Smith who played drums in Journey?" and “What's Steve Perry like?"This is clearly unfair to Smith, who spent ten years in Journey but 30 years in his own band, Vital Information, and One Great Night is a live CD/DVD celebration of its high energy, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Smith and Vital Information: Vitalive!

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Recorded on tour in 1988 and originally released in 1991, Vitalive! is, in the words of drummer Steve Smith, “the most 'jazz' version of Vital Information to date." It would be easy to argue with Smith, even though he's the group's leader, that VI has always been a jazz band, as evidenced by Come On In (Tone Center, 2004) and Vitalization (Hudson Music, 2007), the latter featuring Vinnie Valentin's more mainstream tone replacing longstanding fusion whiz Frank Gambale. But it's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Smith and Vital Information: Vitalization

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Drummer Steve Smith's flagship group, Vital Information, approaches the 25-year mark with Vitalization. Keyboardist Tom Coster has been a member since 1987, working with Smith on other projects since the mid-1970s. With bassist Baron Browne holding down the bottom end since 1997; newcomer Vinny Valentino (replacing longstanding guitarist Frank Gambale) represents the first change to the core group in a decade.

Some might miss Gambale's aggressive fusion energy, but Vital Information has been gradually evolving towards the cleaner sound heard ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Smith and Vital Information: Come On In

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Eleven original compositions give Vital Information's jazz/rock session plenty of room to ooze. This is their 11th album. By now, they've come to an agreement on what kind of a sound they want. A light Hammond organ, searing electric guitar and thumping electric bass are driven by a heavy rock beat; the band surges with colors that swirl up and down. Their performance is all about technique. Frank Gambale displays his mighty chops, often in unison with a partner. Bass ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Smith and Vital Information: Come On In

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The benefit of a long-standing musical relationship is impossible to quantify, but needless to say there is a certain comfort level, a certain simpatico that results from playing together for the long term. Drummer Steve Smith's current incarnation of Vital Information, featuring guitarist Frank Gambale, keyboardist Tom Coster and bassist Baron Browne, has been together for over six years now, and a certain bravado and nervous energy more evident in their early live release, Live Around the World , was ...


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