All-Star drummer Steve Smith, who always has many irons in the fire, is set to launch three different reissue CDs and a national tour this summer.
THE CD RELEASES
The first two CDs are Best Of" compilations focusing on the body of work Smith recorded during a 10-year association with the Tone Center label:
Best Of Steve Smith - The Tone Center Collection
When I was 12 years old and started listening to the amazing Buddy Rich I bought some recently released compilations of his earlier work, which to me was all new music," says Steve. It made me aware of his extensive body of work and as a result I dug deeper into Buddy's catalogue. I hope that my Tone Center 'Best Of' collection serves to introduce my playing to a new generation of music fans who have currently become interested in high-level musicianship, challenging compositions, virtuosic playing and spontaneous, interactive communication between musicians. They may have been too young to appreciate sophisticated music when this music was originally recorded but now they are ready for a new listening experience.
For my long-time fans I'm presenting an electrifying collection of some of my favorite tracks taken from the 14 albums that I played on and produced for the Tone Center label. This collection features incendiary playing from a diverse cast of characters: Scott Henderson, Victor Wooten, Frank Gambale, Stu Hamm, Larry Coryell, Tom Coster, Jerry Goodman, Howard Levy, Oteil Burbridge, Steve Marcus, Andy Fusco, Anthony Jackson, Kai Eckhardt, Baron Browne, Mark Soskin, Aydin Esen and David Liebman." Release date: August 18.
Best of GHS - Frank Gambale, Stu Hamm, Steve Smith
The jazz-rock-fusion trio GHS - with Frank Gambale on guitar, Stu Hamm and myself, on drums - was one of Tone Center Records hardest-hitting, high-energy groups," says Smith. At a time when many labels were interested in promoting smooth jazz," GHS addressed the music fans that were being ignored: fans that wanted to hear angular melodies, gnarly tones, dense harmonies, intricate rhythms, daring improvisation and group interplay with a more is more" credo! Taken from their three releases, Show Me What You Can Do, The Light Beyond and GHS3, The Best Of GHS offers some of the trio’s finest compositions and performances along with solo statements from each band member. Handle with care! Release date: July 28
The third release is Vitalive!, an out of print set featuring a special edition of Smith's long-running (26 years) Vital Information combo: On Vitalive! long-time band members Tom Coster (keyboards), and Frank Gambale (guitar), were paired with a young Larry Grenadier (currently with Pat Metheny) and veteran straight-ahead saxophonist Larry Schneider (Horace Silver, Bill Evans).
Vitalive! is a documentation of a group that I had for a short time in the late 1980s," says Smith. This configuration was the most 'jazz' version of Vital Information to date. The band coalesced into a unique jazz/rock" unit with a sound that stands the test of time.” Originally released on VeraBra/Intuition Records in Europe and Manhattan/Blue Note for the USA, Vitalive! has been out of print for 15 years. “I've had many fans ask me when this album will be available again,” comments Smith, “the CD will be released on my own label, Drum Legacy Records. This new version has been re-mastered with a marked improvement in sound and includes an added a bonus-track that I found in the vaults.” Release date: September 15.
Steve Smith & Vital Information will be on tour this summer - hitting both coasts and the Midwest in the month of July. Vital Information has been together longer than most jazz groups, Steve explains; Vital Information has been together, recording and touring for 26 years and this current line-up, with Vinny Valentino on guitar, Tom Coster on keyboards and Baron Browne on bass, has been together 5 years now. Tom has been in the group over 20 years and Baron has been playing with us for 10 years. We've been able to keep some of the same players for so many years because we have so much fun making music together. The band continues to be fresh to us because we're constantly updating the arrangements and our set lists. We have a large catalog of music to choose from and we're always working on new material as well."
The tour starts on July 1 in Los Angeles and concludes on Cape Cod on July 21. The touring pages of the Vital Information website has all the details for each date of the tour.
STEVE SMITH & VITAL INFORMATION SUMMER 2009 TOUR
7.1 - 7/3 Catalina Bar and Grill - Hollywood, CA 7.5 JD's Lounge / Red Roof Inn - Sacramento, CA 7. 6/7 Yoshi's San Francisco - San Francisco, CA 7.12 Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant - Minneapolis, MN 7/13 Clinic & Performance @ Durty Nellies - Palatine, IL 7.14 Martyr's (with special guest Kick The Cat) - Chicago, IL 7.15 The Jazz Kitchen - Indianapolis, IN 7.16 The Blue Wisp - Cincinnati, OH 7.17 The Jazz Caf - Detroit, MI 7.18/19 Nighttown - Cleveland Heights, OH 7.20 The Devereux - Utica, NY (With special guest Vanilla Funk) 7.21 Cape Cod Jazz Festival -Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, Chatham, MA