Smith Talks about Touring with Journey in 2016
I have been invited
to tour with Journey for the 2016-2017 touring
season and I have agreed to play drums for the
group during this period!
enjoyed working with Journey guitarist Neal
Schon for many years and playing on his solo
albums, including The Calling and his latest
release Vortex. In fact, Neal and I still share
the creative chemistry we had when I was a
member of Journey. When we work in the studio on
his music, it's essentially just the two of us,
jamming, writing, arranging and recording.
Over the years, he has
mentioned that he'd like to have me tour with
Journey again. The invitation has always been
appreciated but with my busy schedule always
being booked at least a year in advance, the
timing was never right. Some changes within the
band have once again brought me the invitation
to tour and this time we were able to plan in
advance and work a Journey tour into my
Like an actor capable of
playing a wide variety of roles, I'm a musician
who enjoys, and is comfortable performing,
diverse genres of music. My group Vital
Information, as well as the other great jazz and
world music artists that I tour and record with,
remain a musical priority. I will also be
performing with them during the next two years
and by 2018 will resume my career full-time as a
touring and recording jazz musician.
decision to tour with Journey in 2016-2017 is
based on many factors:
with Neal is strong and we enjoy playing
together. I've been in touch with Jonathan Cain
and Ross Valory and we have a good rapport both
personally and musically. All four of us share a
common history and have created some enduring
music together. I've met and spent time with
Arnel Pineda and have great respect for him both
as a person and vocalist.
I am excited to
revisit a role that was a formative part of my
career, performing music that has touched many
people for more than 30 years. My kids Ian,
Elizabeth, Kasia and Zac have not seen me play
with the group (Ian has but he was too young to
remember), it will be fun to have them see me
perform with the band. Finally, I can say "yes"
to the many fans who have asked if I would tour
with Journey again.
My hope is that
Journey fans will appreciate a new line-up
similar to the Escape and Frontiers era -- and
will want to revisit this timeless music with
me. By bringing my musical experience to the
table along with the years that the members of
Journey have spent touring, I'm sure this new
incarnation of Journey will develop its own
special magic. It's going to be amazing. I look
forward to seeing all the fans on the road!
Vortex featuring Neal Schon, Randy Jackson, Igor
Len, and Steve Smith
people know Steve's history with guitarist Neal
Schon in Journey. But Steve has also appeared on
several Neal Schon solo albums. Neal and Schon
have great chemistry every time they get
together in the studio and on stage.
Steve also has a long history with
bassist/producer Randy Jackson. Steve and Randy
worked together on jazz fusion projects in the
'70s, and Randy actually introduced Steve to Tom
Coster, the longtime keyboardist for Vital
Steve appears on the new
Neal Schon release Vortex! The album
here. Steve, Neal, Randy,
and keyboardist Igor Len got together recently
to perform atCMO.The
performance went so well that Neal got the band
booked in Japan this February! Click
here to see
Keep and eye out for
more video coming soon!
Groove: Blue from Steve Smith, Vinny
Valentino, and Tony Monaco
We owe the
existence of this precious jewel to a chance
encounter in Indonesia's capital
Jakarta in March, 2011. Drummer Steve Smith and
guitarist Vinny Valentino decided to go for a
nightcap after playing the Java Jazz Festival
with their band Vital Information.
they approached the lounge bar, they heard the
sound of a wild swinging electric organ.
Wondering “who the hell was swinging that hard
on the B3,” they walked in and saw Tony Monaco,
an “unsung hero” of the instrument. Few people
knew Monaco, though he had been promoted by
organ legend Jimmy Smith and had spent two years
touring with jazz guitarist Pat Martino. Smith
and Valentino made their way through the crowd
and asked if they could join in. They proceeded
to spend the rest of the night jamming together,
later joined by festival greats George Benson
and Roy Hargrove.
Five months later, fate
once again intervened. Smith and Valentino had
been booked for Drum Fantasy Camp, an annual
drum camp in Cleveland Ohio. Tony Monaco lived
close by in Columbus, a modest 230 km drive
away. A spontaneous phone call resulted in a car
journey and resulted in the three of them
playing in Monaco’s small home studio.
Steve borrowed a small jazz drum kit from a
friend of Tony as his own didn’t fit in the car.
Valentino plugged his guitar into the only
available amplifier and they were off. They
worked so well together that they decided to
record an album. One and a half days later, the
recording was in the can!
To get a sense
of the style of this album, think of the classic
Blue Note organ trios of the '60s. These true
musos effortlessly inject a 50-year-old sound
into their own compositions, adding a few
specially arranged jazz standards along the way.
Those standards include the legendary
1958 Miles Davis version of "On Green Dolphin
Street," where Smith’s zestful drumming gives a
distinct Latin feeling. The group also covers
Ray Nobles' "Cherokee," gently modernised with a
funky groove. Nat King Cole’s immortal "It's
Only A Paper Moon," from the Broadway musical
"The Great Magoo," retains a timeless swing but
with a walking pedal bass from the Hammond
organ. The album winds down with a gentle
version of "That's All,"an unforgettable ballad
from the Great American Songbook.
Although Smith, Monaco and Valentino had
virtually no time for rehearsals, they harmonise
on "Groove: Blue" as if they’d known each other
all their lives.
Benny Greb, Mike Mangini, Jojo Mayer, and Dave
Weckl at the 2015 Drum Fantasy Camp!
camp ran from August 7-11 at Vic's Drum Shop in
Chicago. Steve performed at the opening concert
and then taught master classes for four days.
The concert featured Steve, Mike, and Benny
sitting in with James Genus (bass), Stu Mindeman
(keys), Chrissi Poland (vocals), and Vinny
Valentino (guitar). At the end of the show,
Steve, Mike and Benny jamed together - and were
then joined by Dave Weckl and Jojo Mayer for a
snare drum performance of "When The Saints Go
On June 21, Steve played drums
for the Buddy Rich Alumni Big Band. The band was
led by trumpet master Bobby Shew, who played on
the recording of Buddy's "new" big band in
1966/1967 that included his original version of
West Side Story.
Other alumni who played
at the concert was tenor saxophonist Pat
LaBarbara, alto saxophonist Andy Fusco, tenor
saxophonist Charles Owen and trumpeter Chuck
The band rehearsed for two days
in Prague, Czech Republic and the performance
was at the beautiful Smetana Concert Hall in
central Prague. The show was sold out with more
than 1,800 in attendance.
Vital Information NYC Edition: "Viewpoint"
Steve Smith and Vital
Information NYC Edition is the culmination of
three of Steve Smith’s
and recording bands known as Buddy’s Buddies,
Jazz Legacy and Vital Information. Viewpoint
features a combination of musical styles these
groups have performed as well as three members
from each of the bands.
The band features
Steve Smith, Baron Browne on bass, Andy Fusco on
alto saxophone, Mark Soskin on piano and Fender
Rhodes, Vinnie Valentino on guitar and special
guest Walt Weiskopf on tenor sax. The CD
features 12 eclectic tunes.
Check out "Channel One Suite"
from the recent Buddy Rich Alumni Big Band show
in Albuquerque! Led by Bobby Shew, the band
featured Steve, Pat LaBarbera, Andy Fusco, and
Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band
will join Mike Stern, Bill Evans and Tom Kennedy
for a short tour in New York and Canada starting
on June 25!
This all-star band will hit
Rochester, Gravenhurst, Montreal, and Saratoga.
Check out all of Steve's upcoming gigs on the
Drumhead Article Featuring Steve and
recent edition of Drumhead features a
great in-depth story about Steve and tabla
legend Zakir Hussain.
Steve and Zakir
have played together in many projects. Steve is
also joining Zakir at the upcoming
Path of Rhythm camp. This
Drumhead article digs deep into the
special chemistry between these two masters.
Those who follow Steve know that he has
dedicated considerable time to faithfully
studying this music. This article explains why
Zakir and others have found common ground with
Steve's drumset approach.
The 2014 NAMM
Show in Anaheim, California, attracted more than
95,000 attendees. Steve made serveral
appearances at the show, including serveral live
gigs with Tom Coster, Frank Gambale, and Victor
Wooten (for Korg)! He also performed on the
Sonor Martini Kit right in the Sonor booth!
Check out the video, below!
Big News for 2014!
exciting things coming up for Steve in 2014!
Steve Smith and Vital Information
NYC Edition The special edition of
Vital features Andy Fusco (alto sax), Walk
Weiskopf (tensor sax), Mark Soskin (keyboards),
Baron Browne (bass), and Vinny Valentino
(guitar). They'll be releasing "The Skyline
Sessions" studio album with live bonus tracks
Neal Schon Solo Album Steve is once again featured on the
Journey guitarist's solo record - also featuring
Jan Hammer (keyboards)! The tracks have been
recorded and Neal is working on overdubs and
Program The program will feature
groove playing in a Hammond B3 trio featuring
Fareed Haque (guitar), Tony Monaco (Hammond B3),
and Steve Smith.
Steve will also release a B3 trio album he
recorded with Vinny Valentino and Tony Monaco!
New Book! Steve and
Hudson Music will release a book to accompany
the award winning DVD Drumset
Technique/History of the U.S. Beat.
Steve's Annual Top-10 List is Here!
Steve is an
avid music fan and he's always up on the latest
music. Here is is annual Top-10 favorite records
"I enjoy putting together a
Top-10 Fave release of each year. It’s a way of
going over the music that I bought over the year
and zeroing in on what I feel are the Top 10
strongest releases. I also base my list on which
recordings I naturally gravitated to listened to
the most. My listening is generally not dictated
by the drumming. I need to be drawn to an album
organically to listen repeatedly and many times
the music I listen to has no drumming at all and
there are couple examples of that on this list.
2013 had quite a few strong releases and
some of the other recordings that I enjoyed but
I didn’t include in this list are The Pedrito
Martinez Group debut album, The Sirens
by Chris Potter (with Eric Harland on drums) and
Inspiration – A Tribute to Nat King Cole by
George Benson. If there are any releases on
my list that are of interest to any of my
readers, I can recommend all of these
1. Conviction -
Kendrick Scott Oracle (Concord Music Group) The album that I’ve listened to most often
this year is Conviction by The Kendrick Scott
Oracle. The album is focused and tells a story
from beginning to end. The writing is closer to
a pop/rock concept record than a jazz record and
that approach appeals to me. The group is
outstanding with Taylor Eigsti (piano), Mike
Moreno (guitar), Joe Sanders (bass), John Ellis
(saxes) and Alan Hampton (vocals & guitar).
Kendrick’s mature and compositional drumming
guides and unifies the compositions throughout.
Standout tracks: “Liberty Or Death” for its
somber mood and “Be Water” with a wise narration
from Bruce Lee encouraging the listener to “Be
water my friend.”
For Gravity - Donny McCaslin (Greenleaf Music) Mark Guiliana’s grooving and adventurous
drumming is featured throughout Casting For
Gravity. Donny McCaslin’s captivating
compositions and on-the-edge saxophone playing
provide the focus for this group of players who
are pushing the boundaries of jazz with their
forward thinking playing and sonic palette. With
Jason Linder keyboards and Tim Lefebvre on bass
this quartet is on the front-line of modern
jazz. I wrote about one of the outstanding
tracks, “Stadium Jazz,” in a recent JazzTimes
magazine article - click here to read it.
3. Lento - Youn Sun Nah (ACT
Music) I discovered South Korean
vocalist Youn Sun Nah while touring in Europe
this past summer with Hiromi and Anthony
Jackson. We played some jazz festivals with Youn
Sun Nah and we were all knocked out with her
voice, music and supporting trio: Swedish
guitarist Ulf Wakenius, bassist Lars Danielsson
and Vincent Peiriani on accordion, who all
appear on Lento. There is some percussion on the
album but essentially the sound of the group is
voice, accordion, acoustic bass and guitar. Youn
Sun Nah’s emotionally engaging voice is singular
in the jazz world, combining elements of folk,
soul, rock/pop all sung with superb operatic
control. A standout track is Ulf Wakenius’
odd-time composition “Momento Magico.”
4. After Blue - Tierney Sutton (BFM
Jazz) Jazz vocalist Tierney
Sutton’s tribute to Joni Mitchell is one of my
favorite chill-out recordings of the year.
Tierney inhabits the songs in a way that says
that she understands their meaning as well as
having the chops to sing them and take them to
some new places. Seasoned accompaniment is
provided by drummers Peter Erskine and Ralph
Humphrey, Larry Goldings on organ and piano,
Kevin Axt on bass plus some special guests
including the Turtle Island String Quartet.
5. Gadditude - Steve Gadd Band
(BFM Jazz) I find Gadditude to
be a strong and personal statement from one of
my favorite drummers of all time, Steve Gadd.
The group is called “The Steve Gadd Band” and
this album truly has some wonderful interactive
band playing; I can hear the years of time on
the bandstand that these players have shared.
The sound and mix is world-class, better than
most new recordings. I love that Steve is so
prominent in the mix, especially the cymbals,
which is lot like the mixes of the Miles Davis
albums with Tony Williams, to me that approach
is a lost art. Most of the album has a
meditative, introspective vibe and reminds me of
mid-to-late 60s Miles, just around the time he
started going electric: Miles in the Sky and
Filles de Kilimanjaro. I love the band’s
interpretation of some of my favorite Keith
Jarrett tunes; they are quite different from the
original versions. Another plus is that this
recording is available on vinyl! The Steve Gadd
Band is: Walt Fowler (trumpet), Larry Goldings
(keyboards), Jimmy Johnson (bass) and Michael
Raven That Refused To Sing - Steven Wilson
(Kscope) Porcupine Tree is my
favorite rock band these days so I was
interested in hearing Steven Wilson’s solo
project and it did not disappoint. The casting
of the group is inspired with mighty Marco
Minnemann on drums, Miles Davis alumni Adam
Holzman on keys, Guthrie Govan on guitar, Nick
Beggs on bass and Theo Travis on sax & flute.
The reason that I enjoy Wilson’s concept is
because he draws upon so many influences and
blends them into a seamless and organic recipe.
He isn’t afraid to take his time and allow a
composition to build slowly with as many relaxed
and open sections in the music as there are
intense, dense sections. I find this musical
approach is not present in most rock these days.
For example in first tune, “Luminol,” he
incorporates shades of UK, 70s Miles Davis,
Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jethro Tull, Genesis and
Pink Floyd. Marco Minnemann is in fine form
7. Chick Webb &
Ella Fitzgerald Decca Sessions (1934-41) (Moasic
Records Boxed Set) This boxed
set of music from drummer Chick Webb’s band is
an important release and anyone wishing to know
more about Chick Webb’s vital contributions to
jazz and jazz drumming is advised to buy this
product ASAP! Mosaic makes numbered, limited
editions and this is one of their finest
releases. (I have quite a few Mosaic boxed sets,
including releases on Ahmad Jamal, Max Roach,
Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams.)
There are 8 discs, the sound quality is
excellent and the music is swinging! Also
included are detailed and insightful liner notes
by John McDonough. Many of the tracks highlight
Chick’s swinging, supportive and innovative
drumming -- you hear him clearly in the drum
breaks and short solos. I hear the influence of
the earlier New Orleans drummers like Baby Dodds
in his playing but you can also hear him take
those ideas into the future in ways that Gene
Krupa, Jo Jones and Buddy Rich picked up on.
Much of the focus of the boxed set is on Ella
Fitzgerald, who Chick discovered at age 16. Ella
is brilliant throughout!
8. Move – Hiromi (Telarc
Records) I had to learn the
extraordinary music on Move, the follow-up to
Hiromi’s last Trio Project album Voice.
Throughout 2013 I had the pleasure of touring
with Hiromi and contrabassguitarist, Anthony
Jackson, playing all of the music on Move as
well as much of the music on Voice. Hiromi’s
music is complex and involved, with many of the
compositions in odd-time signatures. The music
is quite melodic with some tunes incorporating a
“classical/jazz” approach and the album has a
cohesive quality. Subbing for regular Trio
Project drummer Simon Phillips was no easy task
but it was very rewarding and musically
thrilling. Move is an excellent narrative and
glimpse into a day in the musical life of this
young keyboard genius.
Überjam Deux - John Scofield (Universal
Classics) On Überjam Deux,
Scofield picks where he left off with the
original Überjam, and takes it up a notch. The
funk is laid down mainly by Adam Deitch on
drums, with Louis Cato playing drums on 4 of the
12 tracks. Avi Bortnick on rhythm guitar is
stellar throughout with “Cracked Ice” being a
standout. Andy Hess on bass and John Medeski on
keys round out the group and John Scofield is
inspired on his idiosyncratic melodies and nasty
guitar solos. This is a fun record to jam along
10. Bach, Brahms &
Prokofiev - Eldar Djangirov (Motema) I saw Eldar play at a jam session after a
jazz festival gig one night and was blown away!
He’s an extraordinary virtuoso in today’s
plethora of keyboard virtuosos. When he told me
he was releasing two albums in ’13 I picked up
both, the smoking jazz-fusion trio record,
Breakthrough, and the solo piano album Bach,
Brahms & Prokofiev. I’m no expert on classic
music but I quite enjoy listening to Bach,
Brahms & Prokofiev while on tour. The mood is
relaxed, though the playing is complex, subtle
Give The Drummer Some!
In Episode 34
of the Give The Drummer Some podcast,
Steve talks about life before the drums, his
early and modern influences, studying at
Berklee, Vinnie Colauita, his time in Journey,
Konnakol and Homeland! Such a great interview!
here to listen!
Roots of Rock Drumming Released
has released the book/DVD The Roots of Rock
here to learn more and
order! Click here
to read Steve's own story about the book AND
listen to a podcast!
Arc of the Groove Video
Steve's new video promoting his "Rhythm on
"Zen Roll" Video
sharing new short videos about his fine art
release, "Rhythm on Canvas." This one is on "Zen
Roll" and how it was made. Have a look and see
the rest of the collection at
sat down with Joe Crabtree to talk about his new book from
Hudson Music called Roots of Rock Drumming.
The interview is available as a podcast on Joe's
In the podcast, Steve also
talks about practice concepts, rhythmic singing
(konnakol), drum art, and more.
releasing his first collection of fine artwork
created from rhythm! Only 100 pieces in the
Steve says: "I call my
collection The Fabric of Rhythm because
I feel that this art is a view into the inner
workings of the motions I use to make rhythms.
With drumming we hear only part of the motions
that we make, and because the sticks and hands
are generally traveling so fast, we don’t see
all the motions being used. We hear the impact
of the stick on a drumhead or cymbal, we don't
hear the motions made in the spaces between the
notes. The spaces in-between the notes are as
important as the notes that we hear. With some
percussion instruments like shakers or
tambourines we do hear the entire motion and
it's important that the motions are smooth and
symmetrical, in order to get a grooving rhythm.
To me, this means that the entire motion that
you use with a drumstick is important. With the
process that we used to make this art, you see
both the impacts and the spaces between the
notes, it's as if we are looking into the very
fabric of the rhythms."
Vital Information NYC Edition recently played at
New York's Iridium. The band featured Baron
Browne (bass), Andy Fusco (sax), Mark Soskin
(keys), and Vinny Valentino (guitar). Go
Drum Fantasy Camp
and teach at the 2013 Drum Fantasy Camp,
August 8-12 in Cleveland, Ohio. He will be
joined by Dave Weckl,
Thomas Lang, and Aaron Spears!
Steve will take part in the instructor
roundtable, perform with ColorFunk (featuring
Baron Browne, Vinny Valentino, and Chrissi
Poland), and teach small classes for four days. Steve
will also join in during the camp's Jam Nights!
The camp is perfect for drummers of all
ages, playing levels, and styles!
was recently voted "Best App of the Year" by
Drum magazine! The
will be made in the April, 2013, issue.
is an educational app for drummers of all
ability levels - beginner to pro - which
delivers the highest quality educational content
from some of the world’s best known drummers.
they offer lessons from drumming legends such as
Steve Gadd, Steve Smith, Mike Portnoy, Chad
Smith, and more.
here to learn more and
download Steve's lessons!
Steve and Vital Information at Drum Fantasy
just wrapped up his seventh appearance at Drum
Fantasy Camp! This time, the camp was in Ankara,
Turkey, and Vital Information came along for the
Steve joined Thomas Lang, Jojo
Mayer, and Teymuralp Merter Fosforoglu as an
instructor at the camp. Baron Browne, Chrissi
Poland, and Vinny Valentino ran the opening
concert and nightly jams. And...Tom Coster
joined to complete Vital Information for the
closing concert! Tom also joined the nightly
Steve will teach and perform at the
American camp August 8-12 in Cleveland. You can
learn more at
Steve's "Top 11" for 2012!
Happy New Year everyone!
Steve took some time to write up his "Top 11"
recordings for 2012. Check it out for some great
Favorite Releases of 2012! by Steve Smith
These are the new recordings I
listened to the most in 2012. My listening was
not “drummer based,” but based on the overall
presentation – music that is enjoyable and
inspiring to listen to at various times of the
day. That being said, I usually listen to
records that have no drumming at all, or that
have great drumming on them. This list includes
some albums with inspired drum performances.
1. Robert Glasper Experiment -
Black Radio Robert Glasper
(keyboards), Chris Dave (drums), Derrick Hodge
(bass), Casey Benjamin (sax & vocoder) + various
I have listened to Black
Radio more than any other new release in 2012.
The vibe is very hip and the grooves are
amazing. Chris Dave plays some of the most
modern, interesting and funkiest drum parts I’ve
heard in a long time.
Brad Mehldau Trio – Where Do You Start
Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass),
and Jeff Ballard (drums).
great keyboard players and Brad Mehldau is a
modern master. To me, Where Do You Start comes
from a space that used to be solely occupied by
the Keith Jarrett Trio (with Jack DeJohnette and
Gary Peacock) but this new release satisfies my
desire to hear simpatico piano trio
interpretations of great compositions. Larry
Grenadier (Larry was the bassist in Vital
Information in the late 80s and plays on our
album, Vitalive!) and Jeff Ballard are the
complete jazz rhythm section.They provide both
elastic support and intuitive interaction with
Brad - a perfect combination.
3. Hiromi, The Trio Project – Move
Hiromi (keyboards), Simon Phillips (drums),
Anthony Jackson (contrabassguitar).
Hiromi is one of the most profoundly talented
and dynamic performer/pianist/artist on today’s
modern music scene. I have the distinct pleasure
of being Simon Phillips’ sub on this gig.
Hiromi’s "Trio Project" is the preeminent
jazz/fusion power trio on the planet! This group
must be experienced live to be fully
appreciated. This piano trio is closer to Return
To Forever than the Keith Jarrett Trio.
"Move" is Hiromi’s latest release. It
came out in Europe in 2012 and will be released
this year in the USA. When we play live, we play
all the music from "Move." I can tell you from
experience: this music is VERY difficult to play
and has taken me many hours of work to learn and
memorize. I have a new appreciation for Simon
Phillips’ musicianship because he has created
all the brilliantly imagined and realized drum
parts for this music – no easy task. If you
enjoyed Hiromi’s 2011 recording, "Voice," as
hard as it is to imagine, she has taken her
writing and playing up several notches with
4. Gregory Porter -
Be Good Gregory Porter
(voice), Chip Crawford (piano), Aaron James
(bass) Emanuel Harrold (drums), Yosuke Sato
(alto sax), Kenyon Harrold (trumpet), Tivon
Pennicott (tenor sax).
Porter is a new singer on the jazz scene and has
a vocal sound that has made him quite an
“overnight” success. I can see why. His music,
which is mainly his own original compositions,
is quite interesting and engaging with excellent
melodies and mature lyrics. His band is top
notch and Gregory gives them a lot of space to
Loueke – Heritage Lionel
Loueke (guitar and vocal), Mark Guiliana
(drums), Robert Glasper (keyboards), Derrick
I first saw Lionel play
as Herbie Hancock’s guitarist when Vital
Information opened up a show for Herbie. His new
album, "Heritage," is a unique, modern and
mature statement. Mark Guiliana is one of my
favorite young drummers and he sounds fantastic
here. The album is co-produced by keyboardist
Robert Glasper, which I’m sure helped to keep
the recording very hip and modern. I
recently saw this band live and they took the
music from this recording to some incredible
Keith Jarrett – Sleeper
Keith Jarrett (piano), Jan Christiansen (drums),
Jan Garbarek (sax), Palle Danielsson (bass).
"Sleeper" is a live concert from Keith
Jarrett’s European Quarter that was recorded in
1979. Words that come to mind while listening to
this double CD are “inspired,” “uplifting,”
“uninhibited,” “expressive” and “adventurous.”
This recording is truly a gem. Jan Christiansen
was always one of my favorite drummers in my
early-mid 70s formative years. His playing on
"Sleeper" is wonderful.
Mark Soskin - Nino Rota
Mark Soskin (solo piano).
is one of my favorite composers and arrangers
and "Nino Rota" is one of his best albums. Mark
and I have played together since 2000 when he
became the pianist in my Buddy Rich tribute
group, "Buddy’s Buddies," and we’ve continued to
work together since then. Mark wrote and played
the music in my Hudson Music DVD "History of the
U.S. Beat." He has toured and recorded with my
band, "Jazz Legacy," and recently has been
playing in my latest group "Vital Information
NYC Edition" (VI NYC Edition has a new release
coming out in 2013).
Rota" gets a lot of play in my home and is also
a favorite of my wife, Diane. The album’s
concept is using the music written by Italian
composer, Nino Rota (1911-1979), who is best
known for his film scores -- and arranging the
music for solo piano. The album has a
spontaneous quality and sounds like it could
have been completely improvised. The
performances have a lot of heart and emotion and
the album makes a complete and coherent
statement from beginning to end.
8. Keith Jarrett – RIO
Keith Jarrett (solo piano).
I tend to
enjoy solo piano recordings and Keith Jarrett is
a master. In my opinion, disc two of "RIO" is
Keith’s best solo piano album in many years.
This music is completely improvised, and though
I don’t love disc one in this set, disc two is
divine. Keith never lets his prodigious
technique become the focal point. When Keith is
in the zone, the playing comes directly from his
heart and many times sounds like it is channeled
from a place that can only be called “the
Beatles - The Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set
Ringo (drums and voice), George (guitar and
vocal), John (guitar and vocal), Paul (bass and
I love The Beatles and, as a
vinyl collector, I’m always visiting various
record stores around the world looking for
pristine copies of Beatles albums. Now, that
search is over with the release of this Stereo
Vinyl Boxed Set that includes every Beatles
record plus two bonus records! Later this year,
when the Mono Boxed Set is released, I will be
picking that up too. I recently read
engineer/producer Ken Scott’s excellent book
"From Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust," (Ken
recorded the Beatles as well as Mahavishnu,
Cobham's Spectrum, Jeff Beck, etc.). In his
book, Ken reveals that the Beatles, themselves,
didn’t take stereo seriously until they recorded
"The White Album."
Zeppelin – Celebration Day
Jimmy Page (guitar) Jason Bonham (drums) Robert
Plant (voice) John Paul Jones (bass and
features John Bonham’s son, Jason, playing an
amazing live set with Led Zeppelin in 2007. The
band is well rehearsed and Jason’s groove is
wide, relaxed. With Jason’s interpretation,
which is very close to the well-known versions
his father recorded, he somehow manages to bring
more attention to, and highlight, the deep
pocket of Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. One
the great features of this package is the very
well edited concert DVD. I’ve always loved Led
Zeppelin since their first album. I even got to
see them live in 1972, but I found this live
2007 concert to be a revelation.
11. Steve Smith and Vital Information –
Live! One Great Night Steve
Smith (drums and konnakol), Tom Coster
(keyboards), Baron Browne (bass), Vinny
Valentino (guitar and voice).
happy to have a new release in 2012 from my
group, Vital Information, and can listen to this
recording often and still find it interesting; a
good sign! This package is the beginning of our
30th Anniversary Celebration (the first Vital
Information recording was released in 1983).
"Live! One Great Night" is a documentation of an
inspired live set, which was webcast at the
time. We were not focused on fact that we were
doing a webcast as we played.We simply
communicated with each other on stage and, as a
result, the performances were exciting and free.
I was quite pleased to have recently discovered
that there was a recording of that 2007 concert
and, a few months later, we found a video too!
The video is a low-res black and white version
of the webcast but, nevertheless, it’s fun to
watch, and we included the video in the package
for free. Check it
Reduced DVD Prices
Steve has reduced
prices on all the DVDs available in his online
store! Click here
to shop for great instructional products at
Review: LIVE! One Great Night
Examiner.com posted a
great article about Steve and Vital
Information's new live album - Live! One Great Night.
Neal Schon's "The Calling"
guitarist Neal Schon will release "The Calling"
on October 22. The new disc
is described by Schon as “an interesting mix”
and an album that has “a lot of different
flavors and colors.”
reunites Steve with his former Journey bandmate.
Jan Hammer also guests on the album, playing
keyboard solos on a couple of tracks. Working
with what he calls an “open slate” where nothing
was prepared in advance prior to recording,
Schon emerged with an album that he says “is one
of the most rockin’ records I’ve ever made.”
Steve's Lessons Now Available on the "Drum
is an educational app for drummers of all
ability levels - beginner to pro - which
delivers the highest quality educational content
from some of the world’s best known drummers.
Drum Guru delivers drum lessons with
high-quality video and audio, coupled with music
notation and unique practice features so
drummers can use the app in the practice room.
These tutorials are grouped into “packs” that
you can download from the catalog. Currently,
they offer lessons from drumming legends such as
Steve Gadd, Steve Smith, Mike Portnoy, and Chad
Smith, with many other artists coming soon.
here to learn more and
download Steve's lessons!
Steve at Drum Fantasy Camp
Keith Carlock, Peter Erskine, Will Kennedy, and
Dave Weckl at the 2012 Drum Fantasy Camp. The
camp took place August 9-13 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Steve and staff opened the camp with a
blowout concert at Cleveland's House of Blues.
They performed with an all-star band consisting
of John Benitez (bass), Josh Dion (keys/vocals),
Oli Rockberger (keys/vocals), and Vinny
The next four
days consisted of two three-hour classes per day
and jams in the evening. Steve hooked up with
camper Arun Kumar and drummer Will Kennedy for a
fun Konnakol jam (see below).
Hudson Digital On Demand Added to the Steve
Many of our DVD products are now available
as Hudson Digital On Demand downloads. This
means you can instantly download select Hudson
products to your computer!
Just look for
the Hudson Digital On Demand logo below products
on our DVD page!
If you don't already have the Hudson Digital On
Demand player on your computer, the Hudson links
will take you to a page with download
instructions and more information.
you have the player, you can shop for products
from other artists, as well!
30th Anniversary Tour and CD Releases!
Over the next two years,
Steve Smith and Vital Information will be
celebrating the release of its first recording.
Entitled Vital Information, the
Columbia release came out in 1983.
The festivities began with the release
of a new album and DVD package called Live! One Great Night.
The USA release was on May 29, 2012, on the
BFM Jazz label. You can purchase the combo
for just $15!
The album was also released
in Europe on Q-Rious Music on August 24 (with a
30th Anniversary Tour is under way in the U.S.
VI will also tour Europe in Late October/Early
November. Click here to see the tour dates!
Additionally, the band will
release two more albums in 2013, including a
live album and a studio album that were both
recorded with the "NYC Edition" of VI last
Steve and Vital Information
will continue to tour in 2013. Get ready for
lots of new activity from SS&VI!
After a very exciting and musically rewarding
week playing with Hiromi and Anthony Jackson at
Marians Jazzroom in Bern, Switzerland - one of
the nicest jazz spaces in the world - Steve went
on a clinic tour of Switzerland.
tour was a total success with packed houses
everywhere. Organized by the Swiss Zildjian
Cymbals distributor, Olar Music, the tour also
had the support of Sonor Drums, Vic Firth
sticks, Remo heads, Puresound snare wires, DW
Pedals, Hudson Music, and CymPad cymbal felts.
Danny Zimmermann, from Olar Music, did
an excellent job driving the van and taking care
of advancing the dates, setting up and breaking
down the drumset each day. The weather had been
extremely cold, but that didn't stop the people
from coming out to attend the clinics.
This year's NAMM Show attracted more than 90,000
attendees, including manufacturers, merchants,
and musicians! Vital Information played several
sets at the Korg booth, and Steve and Vital
Information signed a deal with BFM Digital to
release "Live: One Great Night." The release
date is May 15 (June 1 in Europe). The band will
tour Europe in late October/November! Stay
Steve's "Top-10" for 2011!
Steve bought many excellent new releases in
2011. These are the albums that he found both
enjoyable to listen to and inspiring to his
The Impossible Gentlemen
- The Impossible Gentlemen (Adam Nussbaum –
drums / Steve Swallow – bass / Gwilym Simcock –
keyboards / Mike Walker – guitar)
Jojo Mayer & Nerve –
The Distance Between Zero and One (Jojo Mayer –
drums / John Davis – bass / Takuya Nakamura –
– Lines of Oppression (Ari Hoenig – drums /
Tigran Hamasyan – piano / Gilad Hekselman /
Orlando LeFlemming – bass)
James Farm – James Farm (Eric
Harland – drums / Joshua Redman – sax / Aaron
Parks – piano / Matt Penman - bass)
Roy Haynes – Royalty
(Roy Haynes – drums / Roy Hargrove – trumpet /
David Wong – bass / Martin Bejerano, Chick Corea
– piano / Jaleel Shaw – sax)
Steve Gadd – Live at Voce
(Deluxe Edition) (Steve Gadd – drums / Joey
DeFrancesco – B3 / Ronnie Cuber – sax / Paul
Bollenbeck – guitar)
Drummer Magazine and Blue Note Records Present:
Jazz Drumming Legends A
fantastic compilation with some exceptional
choices of amazing performances from Art Blakey,
Joe Morello, Gene Krupa, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin
Jones, Billy Higgins, Jack DeJohnette, Tony
Williams, Chris Dave, Lewis Nash, Bill Stewart,
Ignacio Berroa, Max Roach, Roy Haynes and Buddy
Hiromi – Voice
(Simon Phillips – drums / Hiromi – keyboards /
Anthony Jackson –bass)
Harland - Voyager Live by Night
(Eric Harland – drums / Taylor Eigsti – piano /
Walter Smith III – sax / Julian Lage – guitar)
Bill Frisell – All We Are
Saying… (Kenny Wollesen – drums /
Bill Frisell – drums / Jenny Scheinman – violin
/ Greg Leisz – steel guitars / Tony Scherr –
Journey – Greatest
Hits 2 (Steve Smith, Aynsely
Dunbar, Larrie Londin – drums / Steve Perry –
voice / Neal Schon –guitar / Ross Valory – bass
/ Gregg Rolie, Jon Cain – keyboards)
Journey Releases Greatest Hits Volume 2
(Press Release) Prices Reduced on all CDs and
Steve has reduced
most CDs to just $15 and most
DVDs to $39.95 (or less)! Click
to open the Steve Smith Store.
HITS VOL. 2 SPANS HIT SINGLES, ALBUM TRACKS AND
RARITIES FROM 1978 TO 1996
Enduring Appeal Is Affirmed Everywhere From Rock
Band To The Sopranos, from Broadway's Rock Of
Ages to Television's Glee
CD and gatefold double 180-gram virgin vinyl
edition of GREATEST HITS VOL. 2 - AND gatefold
double 180-gram virgin vinyl edition of original
GREATEST HITS - available everywhere starting
November 1, 2011
GREATEST HITS VOL. 2, a brand-new collection of
original recordings by the mega-platinum band
Journey will be available as a single CD,
digital download, and special gatefold
double-vinyl edition (which includes a code for
a free digital download of the vinyl remastered
album), available starting November 1, 2011.
This new package from Columbia/Legacy, a
division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, spans
singles and album tracks recorded between 1978
Journey's original Greatest Hits collection is
one of the top-selling American rock albums of
all time with worldwide sales in excess of 25
million. In conjunction with the double-LP
version of GREATEST HITS VOL. 2, the original
Greatest Hits will also be issued as a gatefold
double-vinyl edition on the same date, November
1 (which also includes a code for a free digital
download of the vinyl remastered album).
World's Greatest Drummer Concert
On November 6, 2011, Steve performed at the
"World’s Greatest Drummer
The concert was a tribute to Gene Krupa,
Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson and Joe Morello. To
see Steve’s personal videos of "Time Check,"
"New Blues", and "Nutville" filmed with Steve's
Zoom Q3 HD, click here.
Steve enjoyed playing with all of the fabulous
musicians at this event.
You can see the
entire photo album on Steve's Facebook fan page (make sure to click "like" when you
visit the page!)
Two New Articles
was recently interviewed for articles in
Rhythm and Batterie magazines.
Click the links, below, to read them!
Steve is a longtime Vic Firth endorser and
has played a key role in the development of
signature products including his signature
sticks and the VERY popular Tala Wands!
Click the ad to enlarge, and click
learn more about the Vic Firth products that
In Memorium: Freddie Gruber
"My good friend and
mentor Freddie Gruber passed away on Tuesday,
October 11, 2011.
Even though I had been
recently talking with Freddie and knew his
passing was inevitable (his health began
declining a couple of months earlier), when Adam
Nussbaum called me that night with the news, I
was deeply saddened.
Freddie was full of
life, had great wisdom, and was mentally sharp
right up until the end. It was always inspiring
to speak with him about music and life in
He was my link to the history,
heart and soul of jazz, and was able to expertly
guide me to become a better drummer and a better
musician. As he got older I know he appreciated
each day that he lived and every time we spoke
he would reminded to take a moment and give
thanks for my talent, my great relationship with
my lovely wife Diane, and the career I have
I am very happy to have known
Freddie and I miss him deeply." -
Red Sea Festival
Steve and Vital
Information performed at the Red Sea Jazz
Festival on August 23
Steve conducted a drum clinic on
Other acts included Avishai
Cohen, Pedrito Martinez, Jason Lindner, Diane
Reeves, and more.
here to view more photos on
Steve's Facebook fan page!
Steve's Appearance at Drum Fantasy Camp
and taught at the 2011 Drum Fantasy Camp,
which ran from
August 11-15 in Cleveland, Ohio. He joined
Chris Coleman, Peter
Erskine, Gavin Harrison,
and Dave Weckl.
Steve took part in the instructor
roundtable, performed with the Mike Stern Band
(featuring Tom Kennedy and Bob Franceschini),
and taught master classes for four days. Steve
also joined in during the camp's Jam Nights,
including a fun jam with the great Sivamani
was recently featured in a two-part article on
article covers various topics spanning Steve's
dynamic career, and features lots of photos and
here to read part 1. Click
here to read part 2.
Hiromi/Anthony Jackson/Steve Smith Videos
videos from the recent Hiromi Trio tour are
popping up on YouTube. Here are a few of the
Umbria Jazz 2011
Festival (begins at 2:25)
Stick on Stick Lesson
has a new video on his
YouTube Channel devoted to
"stick-on-stick" techniques for getting
interesting sounds on the drumset. Check it out
- and click on the PDF link (below) to see some
examples that were published in
New Videos Added to Steve Smith Channel
Steve has added
a new video to the Steve Smith Channel on
YouTube. The latest video features Steve Smith
and Vital Information - NYC Edition performing
Interwoven Rhythms Synchronous. The video
features Steve, Andy Fusco, Mark Soskin, Baron
Browne, and Vinny Valentino. Click
here to watch!
Steve Smith and Vital Information Headlining
Red Sea Jazz Festival
Steve and the
band will headline the incredible Red Sea Jazz
Festival in Eilat, Israel. The band will perform
on August 23 and 24. Steve will also do a drum
clinic on August 24. Click
here to visit the Red Sea
Jazz festival Web site for more information.
Steve Smith to Tour with Pianist Hiromi
Steve will join
legendary bassist Anthony Jackson in support of
Hiromi's new album Voice. The band will tour
throughout Europe and the USA beginning on June
15. Click here
for all the tour dates!
Vital Information in Jazz Music Examiner
Steve and Vital
Information were recently featured in Seattle's
Jazz Music Examiner. Click
here to read the story!
Also, check out this
short article from Steve's
recent trip to India!
2011 Drum Fantasy Camp
Steve will join
Chris Coleman, Peter
Erskine, Gavin Harrison,
and Dave Weckl at the 5th
annual Drum Fantasy Camp.
The camp will take place August 11-15, 2011, at
the Hyatt and House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio.
This will be the fourth time Steve has
taught at the camp. He and the other instructors
will run small classes (15 to a class), nightly
jams, and take part in a concert at Cleveland's
House of Blues.
January 8, 2011, Steve performed at the
Guitar Center Drum Off in Los Angeles.
Steve kicked off by performing "Salt
Peanuts" with Jeff Hamilton.
He then played a wicked Drum 'n Bass duet with
Jojo Mayer. After a drum solo,
Steve was joined by an all-star group of
musicians including: George Brooks,
Kai Eckhardt, Fareed
Haque, Pete Lockett,
and Mahesh Vinayakram. The
group performed several upbeat Indian fusion
Other performances included: a
duet with Gavin Harrison and Simon Phillips,
Dave Lombardo, and a collaboration with Cora
Coleman-Dunham, Tony Royster, Jr., Nisan
Stewart, and Trevor Lawrence.
Click a photo to enlarge!
2011 NAMM Show
attended the 2011 NAMM Show in Anaheim,
California. He attended signings for Sonor,
Remo, and Samson, and also attended a "lifetime
achievement" presentation to Freddie Gruber.
Click a photo to enlarge!
Click the links, below, to read "Drum Talk" articles written
by Steve Smith: