Founded by all-world drummer Steve Smith back in the 80’s, Vital Information celebrates its tenth recording with a slightly organic vibe as these superb musicians delve into a variety of formats. The keyword here is groove, as these stylists (and frequent poll winners) align their wares for a group sound that has become easily identifiable! On this deceptively complex yet thoroughly entertaining affair, Smith sets the pace via his polyrhythmic outbreak on the opener, “Cranial #1" (an ongoing series of spontaneous improvisations). However, the band subsequently ventures into the stratosphere with streamlined exactitude during the hotly swinging number “Mr. T.C.” Smith opts for a scaled down jazz kit, while perennial guitar hero Frank Gambale employs a hollow-body electric. On “Shagadelic Boogaloo,” the quartet engages in a 70’s pop-soul mode, along with a few inadvertent nods to the Chitlin Circuit. Keyboardist Tom Coster picks up the accordion for the New Orleans style shuffle motif titled “Our Man In Louisiana.” With this piece, you can almost see a hot and humid summer day, way down yonder in Nawlins, complete with the aroma of spiced up crawfish permeating the streets of the French Quarter.
on “Sideways Blues,” Gambale’s now infamous sweeping chord progressions and Coster’s fluent B-3 lines ride above Smith and bassist Baron Browne’s steaming, turbocharged swing vamps. The ensemble’s multifaceted voyage continues throughout the intermittent “Cranial” sequences, where they propagate smatterings of EFX atop pulsating cadenzas. No doubt, you’ll get your money's worth here! Recommended. Vital Information
Track Listing: 1.Cranial #1 Right Now 2.Mr. T.C. 3.Shagedlic Boogaloo 4.Cranial # 2 The
Jinx 5.Soul Principle 6.Our Man In Louisiana 7.Cat and Mouse 8.Cranial #
3 Azul 9.Sideways Blues 10.the Blackhawk 11.Cranial # 4 Where We Live
12.The Fire Still Burns (for Jimi) 13.Cranial # 5 Awaken The hoodoo
14.Cranial # 6 Mata Hari 15.Gingerbread Boy 16.Cranial # 7 Brake Failure
Personnel: Tom Coster: Hammond B-3, Fender Rhodes, Korg Trinity and accordion -
Baron Browne: bass - Steve Smith: drums - Frank Gambale: guitar
I was first exposed to jazz by my father, who was a rabid fan when he was younger, in the early to mid 1950's. We lived in NYC and he was a regular at places like the Village Vanguard and Birdland. One of his favorite stories involved meeting Charlie Parker and Miles on 52nd St
I was first exposed to jazz by my father, who was a rabid fan when he was younger, in the early to mid 1950's. We lived in NYC and he was a regular at places like the Village Vanguard and Birdland. One of his favorite stories involved meeting Charlie Parker and Miles on 52nd St. Needless to say, Jazz and Blues were always on the stereo in our home. I was steeped in these exciting sounds, and they make up some of my earliest memories.