6

Steve Smith and Vital Information NYC Edition: Viewpoint

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Smith and Vital Information NYC Edition: Viewpoint 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 Vital Information, Buddy's Buddies, and Jazz Legacy. The band that emerges—a quintet dubbed Vital Information NYC Edition—is a highly capable group that expertly walks the respectfulness-originality line in its work. "Oleo," for example, succeeds because it swings and singes; "Bemsha Swing"—more funky than Monk-y here—is a groove workout with some teeth; and "Chan's Song (Never Said)" is given a glossy coat of paint that gives rise to new thoughts without covering up the natural beauty of the song. All three demonstrate that Vital Information NYC Edition is loyal to a point, but not to a fault.

Those hoping to witness some virtuosic drum displays won't be disappointed, as Smith delivers the goods at the outset of "Time Check," tears it up during "The Bottom Line," and uses the last of his three standalone solo miniatures—"A Final Viewpoint"—to show what he's made of. But it's the good-natured spirit of the group rather than the strength and technical breadth of solos that carries this album. That's obvious whether the band is working its way through a boogaloo like "The Blackhawk" or tackling an oft-covered favorite like "Take Five." Smith has logged plenty of miles with these men—bassist Baron Browne, pianist Mark Soskin, saxophonist Andy Fusco, and guitarist Vinny Valentino—and it shows. They bring out the best in the drummer and he kindly reciprocates.

Track Listing: Bemsha Swing; Time Check; The Brush Off; Willowcrest; Viewpoint One; Take Five; Viewpoint Two; Chan's Song (Never Said); Oleo; A Final Viewpoint; The Blackhawk; The Bottom Line.

Personnel: Steve Smith: drums; Mark Soskin: piano, Fender Rhodes; Baron Browne: bass; Andy Fusco: alto saxophone; Vinny Valentino: guitar; Walt Weiskopf: tenor saxophone (2, 4).

Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: BFM Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Magic Peterson Sunshine" CD/LP/Track Review Magic Peterson Sunshine
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "La Diversité" CD/LP/Track Review La Diversité
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Just for Fun" CD/LP/Track Review Just for Fun
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Havana Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Havana Blue
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!