Steve Smith / Steve Smith & Vital Information

Come on In

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Steve Smith's Vital Information has evolved from being a fusion band into one that is closer to soul-jazz. He had led units under the Vital Information name for 21 years when he recorded Come On In, a tight quartet album featuring guitarist Frank Gambale (of Chick Corea's Elektric Band), keyboardist Tom Coster (who also plays accordion), and bassist Baron Browne. The music includes some grooves worthy of Joe Zawinul, straight-ahead sections, catchy themes, and plenty of funky rhythms that avoid being predictable, plus a heated up-tempo blues "A Little Something." Smith is mostly in the background, content to propel and inspire his sidemen into playing some of their finest music. This set, which crosses many musical boundaries, reveals Steve Smith's Vital Information to be one of the most underrated bands in modern jazz and serves as an excellent introduction to the group's music.

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