Vital Information - Where We Come From (USA, 1998)
Modern electric jazz and the funky soul of the '60s fuse into a rollicking trip down memory lane on WHERE WE COME FROM. Vital Information, the long- lived pet project of leader and world-renown drummer Steve Smith, make a distinctive change from their usual format of hard-edged fusion on this, their eighth album. The emphasis here is on the soulful instrumental grooves of their youth, the music that originally enticed these world-class musicians to take up their instruments in the first place.
From the influence of Jimmy Smith, the Meters and Tony Williams' Lifetime, Smith and company serve up a spicy gumbo of groovy tunes and have a grand old time in the process. The unrestrained casualness of this disc is contagious as Smith jauntily drives his bandmates through the slippery funk of "Dr. Demento" and the James Brown-ish "Listen Up." The spirit of the bayou is evoked on the zydeco grooves of "Swamp Stomp" and "Sitting Ducks." The jazz element has never been lost, though, as a swinging version of Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick," the Brubeck-influenced "Take Eight," and Ornette Coleman's "Happy House" clearly illustrate. Finally, even the Ventures' effect is felt in the classic surf music styling of "008."
Steve Smith: Drums
Frank Gambale: Guitars
Tom Coster: Hammond B-3, Fender Rhodes, accordion
Jeff Andrews: Electric and acoustic basses