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Steve Smith & Vital Information: Live! One Great Night (CD/DVD)

Hard to believe it's been nearly 30 years since the inception of Steve Smith's Vital Information, but to celebrate their three decades as a touring and recording outfit, the band have just released this live CD/DVD set to coincide with a month long tour of the US. Joining the legendary Smith, who has an impressive resume himself with acts like Journey, Jean Luc Ponty, and Steps Ahead among others, are veteran keyboard player Tom Coster (Santana, bassist Baron Browne (Jean Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham), and guitarist Vinny Valentino (Bill Evans/Jimmy McGriff). Though the line-up of the band has changed over the years (and certainly since their sizzling live album Vitalive!), this current incarnation has actually been together for some time now, and you can really hear how well they gel together on this enjoyable live set.

Drawing from material from throughout their career but leaning mostly on the last few releases, Live! One Great Night was actually recorded in Oregon back in 2007, so expect a healthy dose of the then brand new Vitalization release. As we've come to expect from the band, look for a classy mix of jazz, funk, and fusion sounds that utilize all the skills of the entire band. "Trouble With" features some funky organ & guitar licks, while the rhythmically tricky "Interwoven Rhythms-Synchronous" sees Smith doing some vocal scatting over complex arrangements. "Cat Walk" and "Time Tunnel" are blistering fusion tracks for lovers of Return to Forever, Lifetime, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, while "Interwoven Rhythms-Dialogue" again impresses with Smith's scatting & nimble drum fills playing off Valentino's George Benson inspired guitar work and scats. "Closer" is another fusion barnburner, complete with some sizzling solos from Valentino and Coster, which gives way to the deep grooves of "Jimmy Jive", which sees Smith & Browne locked into a bluesy, funky vibe over which Valentino & Coster can solo over.

Over on the DVD you get the entire show (shot in black & white) with the extra track "Positano", and it's nicely filmed in an intimate setting featuring plenty of close-ups so you can see the musicians doing their thing. Though Vital Information are a slightly different beast these days (the old line-up with guitarist Frank Gambale delivered a little more swing with their jazz, rock, and funk sounds), like a fine wine they've aged quite nicely. If you want to hear one of the classiest fusion acts around in their natural environment, make sure you check this set out, and find out if their 30th anniversary tour is making its way to your town.


Track Listing
Disc 1- DVD
1 Cat Walk
2 Time Tunnel
3 Interwoven Rhythms-Synchronous
4 Seven and a Half
5 Khanda West
6 Trouble With
7 Interwoven Rhythms-Dialogue
8 Closer
9 Jimmy Jive


Disc 2 -DVD
1 Cat Walk
2 Time Tunnel
3 Interwoven Rhythms-Synchronous
4 Seven and a Half
5 Khanda West
6 Trouble With
7 Interwoven Rhythms-Dialogue
8 Closer
9 Jimmy Jive
10 Positano

Added: June 5th 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1635
Language: english

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