Pre-dating Steve Perry's solo endeavor by a whole year, Vital Information was a peculiar solo release in an age where singers from highly successful bands were the only ones permitted to venture off into solo endeavors. Steve Smith, the drummer from one of arena rock's best bands ever --Journey -- broke the taboo by assembling a small group of musicians and releasing Vital Information, an all-instrumental, seven-song session. Electric jazz in the vein of Pat Metheny and later-era Miles Davis, this album may be a disappointment for those who were expecting more of the pop-friendly anthems Journey has previously delivered. The closest to a "Journey moment" arrives midway through the disc during Mike Stern's blistering guitar workout on "All There Is." But that's exactly what makes this record work: Smith is free of constraints and proves himself quite a versatile and intense drummer, well, capable of brushing things up a bit beyond what Zappa termed the "petrified forest of boom-bap" that rock drummers have become so well-known for.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston