New York fusion supergroup Steps Ahead--Michael Brecker (sax, Steinerphone EWI), Mike Mainieri (vibes, synth), Darryl Jones (bass), Mike Stern (guitar) and Steve Smith (drums)--recorded live at Kan-i Hoken Hall in Tokyo on... more » July 30, 1986. Originally formed as a way of bringing together some of the virtuoso musicians in New York, Steps Ahead has become an important and influential band on the jazz scene since forming in 1979. Set list: Beirut, Oops, Self Portrait, Sumo, EWI Solo, Cajun, Charlayne, Safari, Vibes Solo, In a Sentimental Mood, Trains, Reprise.« less
"This is a very nice recording of the Steps Ahead quintet, live in Tokyo 1986. The sound is quite good, PCM 48kHz, and the image quality is OK. Michael Brecker plays a lot on the EWI and tenor sax, Mike Mainieri does a great job on the vibes - laying out some great solos, Steve Smith is fast, yet controlled, on the drums, Darryl Jones is the cool man of the day on the bass, and Mike Stern plays well - although I must say he's placed a bit in the background on this recording.The DVD offers no extra treats, other than a track title menu - it's like you get a live CD plus the video recording. I think there could at least be some kind of discography/presentation of the artists, or a small interview. Though, the music pretty much speaks for itself.This should be a treat for fans of furious and beautiful jazz fusion. Too bad there aren't more DVD's of this kind... There is a lot of recorded material from this type of music - early or of today - and there are people interested in acquiring those recordings on DVD. Let us see that happen soon!"
Fusion at its VERY BEST!!!
juanalpha | Portland, OR United States | 03/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have the greatest love for jazz - most specifically FUSION. Previously, I DJ'd on the largest jazz radio station in Portland, OR. I have been soooo disgruntled with the lack of support for fusion in this country. So many stations strive to represent the "true" sound of jazz. Most of the greats of jazz received their status by breaking the mold, in the most creative, yet impassioned of approaches.To that end, Steps Ahead has been one of my favorite fusion groups on the scene. The problem with "jazz purists" is that most of them don't recognize the incredible talent of an artist until they're told so by the industry. Steps Ahead (particulairly this recording) represent some of the best examlples of the profound beauty of this genre.While the recording does show signs of a lack of the digital clarity, many of us have come to expect from modern recordings, it is an absolutely mesmerizing journey. I define this DVD, as well as the CD (I own them both)as some of the finest examples of the term FUSION JAZZ!!! Unfortunately, like so many other great fusion releases, this DVD may not be availible 6 months after its release - then you'll be stuck hoping somebody has a used copy available (rare) - or importing it from another country (as I have had to do too many times for the really good, non "new agey" fusion (made too damn popular by the likes of Kenny G, who was born from a real fusion band (the Jeff Lorber Fusion Band).If we don't let radio stations know we want to hear more groups like Steps Ahead, The Pat Metheny Group, The Yellowjackets, Weather Report, Steve Smith & Vital Information, The Lost Tribe, John Beasley, and countless other true fusion groups, this genre will be defined as another period of jazz that came and went. Please help support these incredible artists. This DVD is a great place to start!!!"
A Live Michael Brecker Treasure
Henry B. Stewart | Honolulu, HI United States | 07/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a tenor player who has studied everything Michael Brecker has ever played, I declare my personal bias up front. This DVD is a wonderful work of art. Not everyone was ready for Steps Ahead. Put that aside and enjoy the pure musicianship. I saw them live and it changed my direction as a player.Michael's mastery of the incredibly complex Steiner EWI just adds to the argument that he is the best jazz saxophonist alive.If you don't agree, tell all of us why...Aloha,Henry Stewart"
Henry B. Stewart | 12/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great concert, awesome playing. I found this DVD to have very respectable quality for a small recording outfit. Both the audio and video were good enough to where it did not detract from the viewing experience. I have a 32" screen, so maybe a larger screen would show more of the shortcomings as a previous reviewer mentioned. I cranked the bass up a little to get more impact. It sounded great after that. All in all it's a great concert. Not many highlights for the guitar, but he does a great job anyway. One of the neatest things for me was to watch Mike Mainieri play the vibes. He has the vibraphone setup to control his synthesizers which is very cool. It's strange to watch him play and hear all the great sounds which you wouldnn't normally expect to hear from vibes. One of the synthesizers he uses is a Moog Memorymoog, which is one of the best of the vintage synths (imo). It's kind of like six Minimoogs in one keyboard. Fantastic sounds there. Mike Brecker also is great to watch as he plays the EWI. For anyone not familiar with this instrument, it's played like a saxophone (sort of), but allows the musician to play external synthesizers using very expressive playing techniques to shape the sound. Michael Brecker is one of the top players of the EWI and it shows in this DVD. The range of sounds he gets are incredible. Anyway, I won't repeat all that has been said here before me, other than it's a satisfying DVD to watch. Who knows how long this will be available, so if you're thinking about buying it you may want to bite the bullet."
Henry B. Stewart | 10/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The musicianship on this DVD is awesome. I just sit in awe and watch these guys play. As far as the DVD transfer - it is aweful. Barely watchable on a large screen TV. The audio is decent in 2 track stereo but no Dolby production here. Even so - I would watch these guys in black and white and snow."