This Steps Ahead concert (which has long been available on laser disc) has both good and bad points. Michael Brecker's virtuosic tenor solos show a great deal of passion and creativity within the genre. Also Mike Maineri's vibes are an attractive part of the ensemble sound, making the R&B-ish unit sound like Spyro Gyra with guts. Unfortunately the rhythm section (which consists of guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Darryl Jones and drummer Steve Smith) is never subtle, the rhythms are bombastic and the electronics (including at one point a drum machine) are excessive. The solos might be fiery but the unimaginative backup makes this potentially super band often sound run of the mill and monotonous. There are much better Steps Ahead concerts to preserve than this one.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow