Now in their 34th year of touring and recording since their initial 1983 release, Steve Smith and Vital Information have become a formidable jazz/fusion juggernaut whose longevity has surpassed most major fusion groups. The latest lineup is called Vital Information NYC Edition.
Vital Information NYC Edition Lineup
Steve Smith (Journey/Steps Ahead) – drums
Mark Soskin (Sonny Rollins/Herbie Mann) – keyboards
Andy Fusco (Buddy Rich/Mel Lewis) – alto sax (studio and select East Coast dates)
Vinny Valentino (Jimmy McGriff/Bill Evans) – guitar
Baron Browne (Jean-Luc Ponty/Billy Cobham) – bass
The lineup of Vital Information NYC Edition brings together members of all of Smith’s bands: saxophonist Andy Fusco (from Jazz Legacy and Buddy’s Buddies), guitarist Vinny Valentino (from Vital Information), pianist Mark Soskin (from Jazz Legacy and Buddy’s Buddies), bassist Baron Browne (from Jazz Legacy, Buddy’s Buddies and Vital Information), and Smith on drums. Steve Smith had this to say about Vital Information NYC Edition’s philosophy: “Our music allows for individual expression and re-invention. We thrive on swing, groove and creativity.
We want to surprise each other every night on the bandstand with new ideas and in the process keep our audience ‘in the moment’ with us.” Over the years, Smith has won a number of Modern Drummer reader’s polls including “#1 All- Around Drummer” five years in a row. In 2001, he was named “one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time,” and in 2002 he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.
In 2012 and 2015, the readers of Modern Drummer voted Smith “#1 Fusion drummer” and in 2017, he topped an unprecedented three categories: “#1 MVP,” “#1 Rock drummer” and “#1 Educational Product” for his Hudson Music Book/DVD Pathways of Motion. Also in 2017: Steve was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with the rock group Journey.
Vital Information NYC Edition has two releases on BFM Jazz: Viewpoint (2015) and in September 2017, Heart of the City.
“Vital Information is one of improvised music’s best-kept secrets, the tunes are adventurous and they always groove. The musicians shoot for, and achieve, real emotion rather than soulless fireworks.” – Felix Contreras, JazzTimes