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Steps Ahead

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Steps Ahead is an American jazz fusion group.

The group arose out of spontaneous sessions at Seventh Avenue South, a jazz club in New York City owned by saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter brother Randy Brecker. The first three albums were released under the name Steps, later changed to Steps Ahead, on Nippon Columbia in Japan, starting with the debut live album Smokin' in the Pit (1980), followed by Step By Step (1981) and Paradox (1982).

The shifting roster has included vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, saxophonists Michael Brecker, Bob Berg, Bendik Hofseth, Bill Evans, Ernie Watts, and Donny McCaslin; pianists Don Grolnick, Eliane Elias, Warren Bernhardt and Rachel Z; guitarists Mike Stern, Chuck Loeb, and Steve Khan; bassists Eddie Gomez, Darryl Jones, Tony Levin, Victor Bailey, Richard Bona, and Marc Johnson; and drummers Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Steve Smith, and Dennis Chambers.

Steps Ahead was active during the 1970s and 1980s, intermittently during the 1990s, and reunited for concerts in the mid-2000s.

Current Members: Mike Mainieri; Bill Evans; Steve Smith; Tom Kennedy.

Past members: Michael Brecker; Don Grolnick; Chuck Loeb; Eliane Elias; Bob Berg; Warren Bernhardt; Bendik Hofseth; Rachel Z; Jimi Tunnell; Mike Stern; Steve Khan; Eddie Gómez; Darryl Jones; Tony Levin; Jeff Andrews; Victor Bailey; Marc Johnson; Steve Gadd; Peter Erskine; Dennis Chambers; Donny McCaslin; Bryan Baker.

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Steps Ahead, Steve Smith, Frank Gambale and Tim Miller's new release Synergy

Read "Steps Ahead, Steve Smith, Frank Gambale and Tim Miller's new release Synergy" reviewed by Len Davis


Today's program features the band Steps Ahead and their album Vibe with music from musicians who played on that session, including Donny McCaslin, Victor Bailey and Adam Holzman. Plus the new release from guitarist Tim Miller with Synergy. Playlist Steps Ahead “Vibe" from Vibe (NYC) 00:00 Donny McCaslin"Stadium Jazz" from Casting For Gravity (SelfProduced) ...

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Article: Interview

Phase Dancing: Gottlieb, Wertico, Sanchez—The Art of Drumming in the Pat Metheny Group

Read "Phase Dancing: Gottlieb, Wertico, Sanchez—The Art of Drumming in the Pat Metheny Group" reviewed by Joseph Vella


It was 1978 when I first heard “Phase Dance" on Bay Area jazz station KJAZ from a new band called the Pat Metheny Group (PMG). The music didn't just blow me away, it also spoke to me on such a deep level. Little did I know, it would stay with me forever. What the PMG did ...

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Article: Book Excerpts

Ode to a Tenor Titan

Read "Ode to a Tenor Titan" reviewed by AAJ Staff


The following is an excerpt from Chapter 8, “Going Solo, The Pittbull and The EWI" from Bill Milkowski's Ode to a Tenor Titan: The Life and Times and Music of Michael Brecker (Backbeat Books, 2022). By early 1986, Michael began formulating plans for his long-overdue solo debut. He was 37, a universally respected ...

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Article: Book Review

Michael Brecker: Ode to a Tenor Titan

Read "Michael Brecker: Ode to a Tenor Titan" reviewed by Kyle Simpler


Ode to a Tenor Titan Bill Milkowski 408 Pages ISBN: # 978-1-4930-5376-6 Backbeat Books 2021 By the summer of 2005, most people in the jazz world knew that legendary tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker was suffering from a serious medical condition. He had been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Steps Ahead, Mike Mainieri, Steve Khan, Metro and Mitchell Forman

Read "Steps Ahead, Mike Mainieri, Steve Khan, Metro and Mitchell Forman" reviewed by Len Davis


On today's show, we feature Steps Ahead and music from their Magnetic release, plus Mike Mainieri, Mitchell Forman and John Scofield.Playlist Steps Ahead “Beirut" from Magnetic (Elektra) 00:00 Mike Mainieri “Flying Colours" fromWanderlust (NYC) 06:12 Steve Khan “Guy Lefleur" from Eyewitness (Antilles) 12:27 Metro “Bing Bam Boom" from Tree People (Lipstick) 18:42 Mitchell Forman ...

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Article: Album Review

Eliane Elias: Mirror Mirror

Read "Mirror Mirror" reviewed by Jim Worsley


The Chick Corea composition “Mirror Mirror" made its debut on a record led by Joe Henderso. Compelled by the tune's conversational and interactive elements, the astute tenor saxophonist made it the title track. Mirror Mirror (MPS, 1980) featured the rhythm section of Ron Carter and Billy Higgins. Henderson's quartet was, not surprisingly, rounded out by Corea. ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

John McLaughlin, Mike Stern, Teymur Phell, Justin Rothberg

Read "John McLaughlin, Mike Stern, Teymur Phell, Justin Rothberg" reviewed by Len Davis


New music with John McLaughlin Liberation Time and Justin Rothberg, Steps Ahead, Teymur Phell, Mike Stern and Matt Twaddle.Playlist John McLaughlin “Lockdown Blues" from Liberation Time (Abstract Logix) 00:00 Steps Ahead “Tee Bag" from Live Under The Sky 1980 (Equinox 09:02 Teymur Phell “Master Volume" from Master Volume (Music TP) 18:05 Mike Stern “All ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

John Scofield, Bireli Lagrene, Tribal Tech, Igor Wilcox and Erik Escobar

Read "John Scofield, Bireli Lagrene, Tribal Tech, Igor Wilcox and Erik Escobar" reviewed by Len Davis


On today's program old favourites from John Scofield, Tribal Tech, Jean-Luc Ponty, Steps Ahead, and Bireli Lagrene, Also a special segment of the show to showcase Brazilian musicians including drummer Igor Willcox, pianist and keyboard player Erik Escobar, vocalist Flora Purim and guitarist Andre Nieri.Playlist John Scofield “Four On The Floor" from Up All ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

John McLaughlin, Gary Willis, Tribal Tech, David Binney, Tom Coster

Read "John McLaughlin, Gary Willis, Tribal Tech, David Binney, Tom Coster" reviewed by Len Davis


Today a fusion fest with some of the finest releases over the last 30 years John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Niacin, David Binney and much more.Playlist Niacin “Prelude & Funky Opus" from Krush (Prosthetic) 00:00 John McLaughlin"Mr DC" from The Heart Of Things (Verve) 07:24 Chick Corea “El Stephen Parts 1&2" from The Ultimate Adventure ...


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