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  • Writer's pictureBFM Jazz


Four of the finest musicians in the jazz fusion scene are captured live in this superb double set that includes a music recording and a DVD. Live! One Great Night features talented drummer Steve Smith (Journey/Hiromi /Steps Ahead), keyboardist Tom Coster (Santana/Gabor Szabo), bassist Baron Browne (Jean-Luc Ponty/Billy Cobham), and guitarist Vinny Valentino (Bill Evans/Jimmy McGriff).

Live! One Great Night contains a tasty mix of funk, blues, jams and the outstanding konakol vocal percussion style of southern India performed by Vinny Valentino and Steve Smith.

Album highlights include the straight ahead fusion piece ‘Time tunnel’ , the delicious konakol-infused ‘Interwoven Rhythms synchronous’ and Interwoven Rhythms synchronous’ and the captivating swinging blues composition ‘Jimmy Jive.’

“Our music allows for individual expression and re-invention,” says Steve Smith about Vital Information’s concept. “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.”

Steve Smith and Vital Information have been around since 1983 and have grown into one of the most important jazz fusion acts. The group’s founder and drummer, Steve Smith, has performed with well-known rock, jazz and world music acts, including Journey, Steps Ahead, The Buddy Rich Big Band, Ahmad Jamal, Zakir Hussain, and Hiromi. Steve was recently voted 2012’s #1 Fusion Drummer in Modern Drummer Magazine.

His Hudson Music DVDs Steve Smith – Drumset Technique/History of the U.S. Beat and Drum Legacy – Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants are best sellers in the music educational market.

“Baron Browne brought a real serious groove element to the band,” says Smith of his rhythm section partner since 1998. “He’s my favorite bass player to play with because he can play all styles and he always makes the music feel so good.” Browne has worked in the past with jazz luminaries Gary Burton, Billy Cobham, Jean-Luc Ponty, Steps Ahead, and Tom Jones.

The adaptable Tom Coster plays a wide range of keyboards and accordion. He played with Gabor Szabo and Rahsaan Roland Kirk and later with the Santana band for nine years. Coster composed and co-composed some of Santana’s most popular tunes including “Europa”, “Dance Sister Dance”, and “Carnaval”. Tom has recorded many solo albums under his own name and has been a member of Vital Information since 1986.

Vinny Valentino is a recording artist and educator. He has been touring and recording with Vital Information since 2006 and. At age 16, influenced by the music of guitarist George Benson, Vinny began pursuing jazz as a career. “The turning point for me was hearing George Benson in concert; it was an eye-opening experience,” recalls Vinny.

Vinny and his mentor George have since developed a close friendship. George Benson refers to Vinny as a “young genius with brilliant tone and fresh ideas.”

Vinny earned his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at Howard University and has shared the stage or recording studio with such jazz greats as Gary Bartz, Randy Brecker, Bill Evans, John Pattitucci, Richard Bona, Bob Moses, George Benson, Steve Gadd, Dennis Chambers, and Jimmy McGriff.

Angel Romero


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