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Vital Information

Tom Coster
Hammond B-3 organ, Fender Rhodes, accordion

Frank Gambale
guitar

Baron Browne
acoustic & electric basses

Steve Smith
drums

Tracks

1. Cranial #1 Right Now (1:11)
Smith, Browne, Coster, Gambale (Vital Information Publishing ASCAP, Bronze1
Music BMI, Frambale Music BMI, Kim-Tom Music BMI, )

2. Mr. T.C. (4:52)
Tom Coster (Kim-Tom Music BMI)

3. Shagadelic Boogaloo (5:37)
Tom Coster (Kim-Tom Music BMI)

4. Cranial #2 The Jinx (1:18)
Smith, Gambale, Coster, Browne (Vital Information Publishing ASCAP, Frambale Music BMI, Kim-Tom Music BMI, Bronze1 Music BMI)

5. Soul Principle (4:45)
Gambale, Browne, Coster, Smith (Kim-Tom Music BMI, Bronze1 Music BMI, Kim-Tom Music BMI, Vital Information Publishing ASCAP)

6. Our Man In Louisiana (5:16)
Browne, Gambale (Frambale Music BMI, Bronze1 Music BMI)

7. Cat and Mouse (6:40)
Coster, Smith, Browne, Gambale (Kim-Tom Music BMI, Vital Information Publishing ASCAP, Bronze1 Music BMI, Frambale Music BMI)

8. Cranial #3 Azul (1:09)
Coster, Gambale, Smith, Browne (Kim-Tom Music BMI, Frambale Music BMI, Vital Information Publishing ASCAP, Bronze1 Music BMI)

9. Sideways Blues (6:11)
Gambale, Smith, Browne, Coster (Frambale Music BMI, Vital Information Publishing ASCAP, Bronze1 Music BMI, Kim-Tom Music BMI)

10. The Blackhawk (5:41)
Coster, Smith, Browne (Kim-Tom Music BMI, Vital Information Publishing ASCAP, Bronze1 Music BMI)

11. Cranial #4 Where We Live (2:03)
Smith, Gambale, Browne, Coster (Vital Information Publishing ASCAP, Frambale Music BMI, Kim-Tom Music BMI, Bronze1 Music BMI)

12. The Fire Still Burns (for Jimi) (3:00)
Hendrix, Smith, Coster, Browne, Gambale (Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. ASCAP, Vital Information Publishing ASCAP, Kim-Tom Music BMI, Bronze1 Music BMI, Frambale Music BMI)

13. Cranial #5 Awaken The Hoodoo (7:31)
Browne, Coster, Gambale, Smith (Bronze1 Music BMI, Kim-Tom Music BMI, Frambale Music BMI, Vital Information Publishing ASCAP)

14. Cranial #6 Mata Hari (2:47)
Coster, Gambale, Browne, Smith (Kim-Tom Music BMI, Frambale Music BMI, Bronze1 Music BMI, Vital Information Publishing ASCAP)

15. Gingerbread Boy (4:29)
Jimmy Heath (I don't have the publishing info, this is a jazz standard)

16. Cranial #7 Brake Failure (7:22)
Smith, Browne, Coster (Vital Information Publishing ASCAP, Bronze1 Music BMI, Kim-Tom Music BMI)

Album Credits

Produced by Steve Smith, Tom Coster, Frank Gambale and Baron Browne

Recorded and Mixed by Robert M. Biles at Neverland Studio, Marin County, CA
Oct. 4-17, 1999

Mastered by Scott Hull at Classic Sound, NYC

Photos by Steve Jennings
Liner Notes for Show 'em Where You Live

Show 'Em Where You Live is a phrase that a fellow musician shouted out loud one day in 1974 when I was taking a particularly passionate drum solo. Those words have always stayed with me as they were very descriptive of what I was doing (or trying to do), during that solo. That is what this recording is about. On our earlier release, Where We Come From, we were showing you our roots and influences. On the Live Around The World '98 - '99 double CD, we were developing that music and our new sound. Now we're letting you know that we live here. Where? In the zone where the playing gets looser and tighter every day. A place where we are clearly standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, but that's not enough. We're continuing their work, adding to it, making it our own, and creating music that is new, vital and alive, right now.

As a band, Vital Information is experiencing a time of opening up, letting go and moving forward that excites and inspires us. We were all looking forward to creating some new music after touring so much as a new unit. This marks our first studio recording with Baron Browne on bass. He mainly plays a four-string Fender and brings a fresh, funky and swingin' approach to the band that is perfect for this music. Frank Gambale has been experimenting with new sounds on his Yamaha hollow body guitar and has applied them to great effect on this recording. Tom Coster brings a renewed prowess to his Hammond B-3, his original Giulietti accordion and has now added the pure tone of his Fender Rhodes to the mix. I've been wanting to play the Vital Information music on my small jazz kit for some time now, and that's what I did here. For most of the tunes you're hearing an old Sonor kit with an 18" bass drum, two toms, a snare, hi hat and two ride cymbals.

On the last recording we had short improvisations that we dubbed "Cranials." We wanted to keep that theme going on this project, but we also wanted to expand those ideas into full length "tunes." These pieces are about 90% improvised with just a groove, motif or short melody to work with. We did that with "Brake Failure," "The Fire Still Burns" and "Awaken The Hoodoo," which is reminiscent of Tony Williams Lifetime's "Emergency!"

Tom did his homework and brought in some tunes, "The Shagadelic Boogaloo," "Mr. T.C." and the beginnings of "Cat and Mouse," which we all contributed to. The rest of the tunes were group writing which consists of someone having a groove or a concept and then we all go to work, jamming, adding, subtracting, slicing and dicing until we have a finished piece of music.

"Soul Principle" is our way of thanking the great Herbie Hancock band, Headhunters, with Mike Clark and Paul Jackson, for their influences. "Our Man In Louisiana" developed around Baron's pulsating bass, Tom's Cajun-flavored accordion mixed with Frank's James Bond meets Rod Serling inspired tremolo guitar. "The Blackhawk" is the kind of tune you might have heard in the heyday of that legendary San Francisco jazz club, by the same name.

After trying a few classic jazz tunes to feature the band playing very loose with Tom on jazz accordion (I hope that's not an oxymoron), we settled on "Gingerbread Boy," a great vehicle written by Jimmy Heath. "Sideways Blues" was the result of a discovery of mine, if you play a dotted quarter note rhythm through a 12-bar blues, it comes out even. Hey, let's write a tune around that! Once Tom, Baron and I figured out how to actually play it, Frank wrote the melodies and off we went!

There is a lot of freedom written into the tunes which will keep the music very fresh for us for a long time. We've already been on the road playing most of this music live, and it feels open and full of potential. That's important to us because we play the tunes so many times after the initial recording, they have to have room to grow. By the time you see us on the road, these tunes will be different, but that's the beauty of jazz. We let the music show us "where it lives..."

-- Steve Smith
   
 

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