Friday, June 22, 2018

Steps Ahead - 1994 "Live In Tokyo" 1986

Steps Ahead, one of the most influential jazz groups since their first debut is an all-star jazz oriented R&B band that originally included such players as Mike Brecker, Don Grolnick, Eddie Gomez and Steve Gadd in it's original line-up. Mainieri has revived the group several times since with such musicians as Warren Bernhardt, Eliane Elias, Rachel Z, Mike Stern, Tony Levin, Victor Bailey, Peter Erskine, Steve Smith and Bendik.

After the release of the album “Magnetic” in 1985, Michael Brecker and I, along with the revamped rhythm section of Mike Stern, Daryl Jones, and Steve Smith, embarked on a series of concert tours. One of these concerts was recorded live at Kan-I Hoken Hall in Tokyo and originally released on Laserdisc. Many Steps Ahead fans and musicians who caught this ensemble “live,” either at the ‘Bottom Line’ in New York City or at other venues, have inquired about the availability of recordings from these dates. With the assistance of Hisao Ebine and VideoArts in Japan, we were able to release this live recording on CD. I hope this recording brings you as much joy as I had performing with these great musicians.

This is a strong show of course it goes without saying to hear the great Michael Becker he shines on these songs. I love these songs first they are strong and on top of that performed so well. These guys into act with one another so well Michael and Mike have played together for years and it shows they have a lot musically to say to one another. It is cool to hear the electronics come into play here but not over done. I have always thought it was interesting that the great American form of music jazz is more popular outside of the US and thank God Japan has embraced this art form because like with this release we have it today . One thing that is cool to see and hear how good of a drummer Steve Smith is, he spend many years drumming behind the pop band Journey but you can hear he is good and fits right in with these guys. Steps Ahead have had a number of changes over the years in members of the band but have been able to keep the level of music up there. This is such a great album the whole thing just fits and plays well.

This is the only live recording featuring the legendary line-up of Michael Brecker, Mike Mainieri, Mike Stern, Daryl Jones & Steve Smith.


1. Beirut 9:53
2. Oops 8:47
3. Self Portrait 7:30
4. Sumo 9:01
5. Cajun 8:14
6. Safari 6:23
7. In A Sentimental Mood 4:26
8. Trains 9:32


Vibraphone [Vibraphone, Midi Vibes] – Mike Mainieri
Tenor Saxophone, Electronic Wind Instrument [Ewi] – Michael Brecker
Guitar – Mike Stern
Bass – Darryl Jones
Drums, Percussion – Steve Smith