In a musical world where keeping a working band has proven difficult for many bandleaders, drummer-bandleader Steve Smith has managed to keep three bands working for the past three decades. His jazz-rock band, Steve Smith and Vital Information, has been touring and recording for more than 30 years, while his “straight-ahead” groups Steve Smith and Buddy’s Buddies, made up of Buddy Rich Alumni (with three album releases), and Steve Smith’s Jazz Legacy (a group dedicated to playing the music of some of great drumset masters such as Art Blakey, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams), have toured for five years and released two albums and a DVD.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense for this prolific recording artist and bandleader, who has made a career out of amalgamating the many twists and turns of his musical calling, to blend all three bands for a 2015 studio album release entitled The Skyline Sessions on the BFM Jazz label. The updated version of his recording and touring ensemble is called STEVE SMITH AND VITAL INFORMATION – NYC EDITION. Smith refers to this new line-up as, “The best of all worlds. With my band-members all living and working in NYC area, where I live, this group can be organized in a moment’s notice. VI NYC Edition is a lot of fun to play with and is a high-energy, creative, jazz unit!”
The lineup of Vital Information NYC Edition brings together members of all of his 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), and Steve Smith on drums.
Steve keeps his touring schedule quite busy and you may have seen him on tour with Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion, The Mike Stern Band or Hiromi – The Trio Project. Steve Smith was voted “#1 Fusion Drummer” in the 2015 & 2012 Modern Drummer readers’ poll. Smith has previously been voted “#1 All-Around Drummer” in the Modern Drummer Magazine Readers’ Poll for five consecutive years. The 2008, 2009 and 2010 Drum! Magazine readers’ poll voted Smith #1 Jazz Drummer. In 2001 Steve was named by Modern Drummer Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Drummers of All Time.” In 2002, he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and in 2003 his Hudson Music DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique – History of the U.S. Beat, was voted #1 Educational DVD.” Hudson Music released Steve’s DVD/CD Drum Legacy – Standing on the Shoulders of Giants in 2008, which was voted Best DVD of 2009 by the readers of Drum! Magazine.
Smith’s 9-year stint as the drummer with the rock group Journey resulted in nine multi-platinum albums and eighteen Top 40 hits. His drumming can still be heard almost daily on the ubiquitous hit song by Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin’.”