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Steve Smith and Vital Information - NYC Edition

Now in their 35th year of touring and recording since their initial 1983 release, Steve Smith
and Vital Information has become a formidable jazz/fusion juggernaut whose longevity has
surpassed most major fusion groups. The latest lineup is called Vital Information NYC Edition.

Vital Information NYC Edition Lineup

Steve Smith (Journey/Steps Ahead) - drums
Mark Soskin (Sonny Rollins/Herbie Mann) – keyboards
Vinny Valentino (Jimmy McGriff/Bill Evans) - guitar
Baron Browne (Jean-Luc Ponty/Billy Cobham) – bass

The lineup of Vital Information NYC Edition brings together members of all of Smith’s bands:
guitarist Vinny Valentino (from Vital Information), pianist Mark Soskin (from Jazz Legacy and
Buddy’s Buddies), bassist Baron Browne (from Jazz Legacy, Buddy’s Buddies and Vital
Information), with Smith on drums.

Steve Smith had this to say about Vital Information NYC Edition’s philosophy:

"
Our music allows for individual expression and re-invention. 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.

Over the years, Smith has won a number of Modern Drummer reader’s polls including "#1 All-
Around Drummer" five years in a row. In 2001, he was named "one of the Top 25 Drummers of
All Time," and in 2002 he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.

In 2012 and 2015, the readers of Modern Drummer voted Smith "#1 Fusion drummer" and in
2017, he topped an unprecedented three categories: "#1 MVP," "#1 Rock drummer" and "#1
Educational Product" for his Hudson Music Book/DVD Pathways of Motion. Also in 2017: Steve
was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with the rock group Journey.

Vital Information NYC Edition has two releases on BFM Jazz: Viewpoint (2015) and in
September 2017, Heart of the City.

JazzTimes says:

"Vital Information is one of improvised music's best-kept secrets, the tunes are adventurous
and they always groove. The musicians shoot for, and achieve, real emotion rather than
soulless fireworks.
" -
Felix Contreras, JazzTimes

Steve Smith and Vital Information
The All-Star Soul/Jazz/Funk/Fusion Super-Group

Most recent lineup (2013):

Steve Smith - Drums 
Tom Coster – Keyboards 
Baron Browne - Bass 
Vinny Valentino – Guitar 
 
With more than 30 years of touring and recording since their initial 1983 release, Steve Smith and Vital Information has become a formidable jazz/fusion juggernaut whose longevity surpasses every major fusion group. Some of the extraordinary musicians that have toured and recorded with Vital Information include: Mike Stern, Dean Brown, Tim Landers, Kai Eckhardt, Larry Grenadier, Jeff Andrews and Frank Gambale.

Over the years, Smith has won a number of Modern Drummer reader’s polls including "#1 All-Around Drummer" five years in a row. In 2001, he was named "one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time," and in 2002 he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.

In 2015, the readers of Modern Drummer voted Smith "#1 Fusion drummer" and in 2017, he topped an unprecedented three categories: "#1 MVP," "#1 Rock drummer" and "#1 Educational Product" for his Hudson Music Book/DVD Pathways of Motion. Also in 2017: Steve was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with the rock group Journey.


From 2008-2010 Drum! Magazine readers have voted Steve "#1 Jazz Drummer." 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.
 
Smith is quick to point out that a key to the band’s remarkable versatility is its bassist. "Baron brought a real serious groove element to the band," says Smith of his rhythm section partner since 1998.  "He’s my favorite bass player because he can play all styles and he always makes the music feel so good.” Browne has worked in the past with Gary Burton, Billy Cobham, Jean-Luc Ponty, Steps Ahead and Tom Jones.
 
The distinctive multi-keyboardist Tom Coster, whose versatility ranges from Hammond B3 to accordion, was playing with Gabor Szabo and Rahsaan Roland Kirk before he came to prominence in Santana, a stay that lasted nine years. Coster composed and co-composed many of Santana’s most popular tunes including "Europa," "Dance Sister Dance" and "Carnaval." He has recorded many solo albums and joined Vital Information in 1986 before retiring in 2013.
 
Vinny Valentino has been touring and recording with Vital Information since 2006 and is also a recording artist and educator. At age 16, influenced by the music of George Benson, Vinny began pursuing jazz as a career. He recalls, "The turning point for me was hearing George Benson in concert; It was an eye-opening experience." 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.  There isn't a more flexible and disciplined band of killer players on the jazz scene today than Vital Information.

Vital's most recent recording, before transitioning to "NYC Edition," was LIVE! One Great Night. Released May 15, 2012 on the BFM Jazz label, the album captured Vital Information in their natural habitat: a packed club with an audience of music lovers and the band in high gear, pulling out all the stops for the entire set.

The all-star lineup of keyboardist Coster, Browne, Valentino and Smith, served up a veritable banquet of sounds, from slamming funk and syncopated second-line grooves to seriously swinging, uptempo B-3 burners, South Indian inspired jams and sizzling fuzoid romps.

Smith had this to say about Vital Information’s philosophy:

“Our music allows for individual expression and re-invention. 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.”


JazzTimes concured:

"Vital Information is one of improvised music's best-kept secrets, the tunes are adventurous and they always groove. The musicians shoot for, and achieve, real emotion rather than soulless fireworks." - Felix Contreras, JazzTimes

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