Steve Smith and Vital Information: Come On In

Toward the end of his first stint with arena-rock superstars Journey, drummer and jazz-fusion veteran Steve Smith began working with a small group of friends that called itself Vital Information. Even after 10 albums the group is one of improvised music’s best-kept secrets. Come on In is the third Vital Information CD with the current lineup of bassist Baron Browne, guitarist and Chick Corea alumnus Frank Gambale and former Santana keyboardist Tom Coster, and it’s a great example of electric jazz. The tunes are adventurous and the occasional odd time meter are tricky, but they always groove. The title cut is a perfect example. Gambale and Browne mirror each other note for note on the bridge before they break for bass and guitar solos. The musicians shoot for, and achieve, real emotion rather than souless fireworks.