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Steve Smith and Vital Information: NYC Edition Heart of the City

Virtuosic drummer extraordinaire Steve Smith's storied career has included numerous stints in Journey as well as appearing as a sideman on a countless number of albums and as a leader of his jazz project Vital Information which he formed in 1977.

On their new album titled Heart Of The City, Smith's all-star band includes Baron Browne (acoustic and electric basses, vocals on "Eight+Five"), Mark Soskin (acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes) and Vinny Valentino (electric guitar). Special guests include Andy Fusco (alto sax on tracks 1, 4, 5) and George Brooks (tenor sax, alto saxes and drones on "Charukeshi Express").

The tunes presented are a mixture of reworked standards and originals with each demonstrating outstanding ensemble play whether structured or improvised. The band is incredibly adept at playing with and off one another creating some great grooves and melodies along the way.

The disc begins with a couple of standards, John Coltrane's "Mr. P.C." and Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-A-Ning". Smatterings of piano and jangly guitar begin the lead off track which soon develops a nice groove. The guitar work is clean and crisp and the solos of piano and drums are well thought out and never overstay their welcome. Intense workouts settle into a more chilled out sound with the tuneful melody front and center. On the Monk tune the chill out sound continues with the lyrical guitar solo and Smith's busy drumming especially notable. "Bugalula" piques the listener's interest right from the start with a cool drum intro and bubbly Fender Rhodes. Fender Rhodes, sax and guitar solos liven the sound without disrupting the song's natural flow. That is a testament to just how good these musicians are.

This cast of musicians have produced a stunning jazz album with Heart of the City. Really, if you like jazz this is a must buy.

A BFM Jazz release.

Track Listing:
1. Mr. P.C. (6:23)
2. Rhythm-A-Ning (5:23)
3. Eight+Five (5:53)
4. Bugalulu (4:57)
5. Heart Of The City (5:34)
6. City Outskirts East (2:42)
7. I Love You (7:27)
8. I'm An Old Cowhand (From The Rio Grande) (5:45)
9. City Outskirts West (2:26)
10. Open Dialogue (4:02)
11. Charukeshi Express (3:51)
12. Cherokee (Indian Love Song) (5:35)

Added: March 10th 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 262
Language: english

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