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INTERVIEW! "A Drummer's Journey: A Conversation with Legend Steve Smith"

Click here to read an insightful interview conducted by Jae Sinnett of WHRO Public Media! Jae and Steve discuss different approaches to rock and jazz, "Time Flies" from Vital Information, and elements of being a good musician.

NEW! DOLBY ATMOS Mixes for "Time Flies" + Companion CD "A Prayer for the Generations!" Also: CDs Signed by Steve Smith (and regular streaming links)!

Vital Information is back! Celebrationg the band's 40th Anniversary, the band has released it's new CD "Time Flies" with a companion album "A Prayer for the Generations."

Get The Music!

"Time Flies" and "A Prayer For The Generations" are available together as a two CD set signed by Steve Smith. You can order here!

Streaming links for both albums:

Click here for Time Flies!
Click here for A Prayer for the Generations!

DOLBY ATMOS versions: click here!

“Emergence” kicks off TIME FLIES with a powerful and intricate composition by keyboard player Manuel Valera, a Grammy nominated artist and Guggenheim Fellow. Steve Smith’s drum performance invokes the spirit of Tony Williams during his “Believe It” period. Bud Powell’s “Tempus Fugue-It” requires a high degree of technical facility to play the up-tempo piece in a relaxed, swinging way and the new incarnation of Vital Information has the chops to play this classic with ease. “Time Flies” is an improvised groove piece featuring saxophone guru George Garzone. Manuel Valera’s sophisticated reworking of “Darn That Dream” is a showcase for the brush mastery of the Vital Information bandleader. Another inventive arrangement by Valera, “Un Poco Loco,” uses the rhythm of the cowbell beat Max Roach played on the original recording, applied to the melody, to breathe new life into this Bud Powell masterpiece. Steve Smith performed Mike Mainieri’s “Self Portrait” many times as a member of Steps Ahead; after a breathtakingly beautiful piano intro by Valera, the group has their own interpretation of this “stadium size” jazz/rock ballad.

George Garzone sits in on tenor sax for McCoy Tyner’s “Inception” and inspires the group to dizzying heights. “Choreography in Six,” a new jazz/rock anthem co-written by Valera and Smith explores rhythmic, harmonic and melodic variations in 6/4. “No Qualm,” a Valera original, is the perfect setting to feature Steps Ahead bandleader Mike Mainieri sitting in on vibraphone. On Monk’s “Ugly Beauty,” the trio takes an odd-time (5/4) and electric approach with Valera featured on Fender Rhodes. Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?” starts with a sax & drum duet and morphs into a 7/4 vamp, setting up a highly original take on the melody. The song ends in classic Vital Information style with a tour de force drum solo from Smith. The album concludes with a mysterious and moody composition by bassist Janek Gwizdala, with Smith using his 34" Zildjian gong as a ride cymbal and probing solos by all three band members.


During Steve Smith’s formative years at the Berklee College of Music in the early 70s, he often played with saxophonist George Garzone’s group The Fringe. Steve reached out to George and invited him to play a few tunes on the TIME FLIES recording. When that session was finished the group decided to continue recording together and explore stellar regions. George called Coltrane’s “One Down, One Up.” They played one high-energy take and decided to enter a space of “collective group composition.” George suggested: “Let’s play as if we are offering a prayer.” The result is A PRAYER FOR THE GENERATIONS Parts 1–8. Each piece was improvised and performed one time in the order presented on Disc 2. The players connected in a telepathic zone creating an acoustic/electric sonic landscape infused with question/answer, discovery and surprise, with pieces ranging from mid-tempo groovers, rubato ballads, 3/4 blues to up-tempo burners; A truly innovative chapter in the ever-evolving musical output of Steve Smith and Vital Information.

Get The Music!

"Time Flies" and "A Prayer For The Generations" are available together as a two CD set signed by Steve Smith. You can order here!

Streaming links for both albums:

Click here for Time Flies!
Click here for A Prayer for the Generations!

DOLBY ATMOS versions: click here!

Steve Smith & Vital Information

The 40th Anniversary Tour - Time Flies (Tempus Fugit)

The iconic Steve Smith and Vital Information will celebrate its 40th birthday with a U.S. tour starting in March, 2023! The tour is entitled "Time Flies" (Tempus Fugit) and features Steve, bassist Janek Gwizdala, and keyboardist Manuel Valera.

Click here for tour dates on the West coast and East coast!


WBGO: Steve Smith Hosts Five Different Groups at Birdland

Steve's September/October residency at Birdland is special - featuring five different groups!

Read the article here! Get all the tour dates here!

NEW! Video Interviews with Steve Smith

Joe Gansas brings Daniel Glass, Rob Wallis and Mike Vanderhule together to talk about Steve Smith on his August 21 birthday. Joe then conducts an AROUND THE KIT in-depth interview with Steve discussing his Drumset Soloing course on Drumeo and many other subjects. Featured are two LIVE drum solos from Steve’s 2016-2019 tours with Journey.

Modern Drummer Legends

Here is an excerpt from the new Modern Drummer Legends book on Steve Smith. Use these links to get the book: PRINT and DIGITAL.

Steve Smith: Understanding, Following and Developing the Opportunities
By Mark Griffith

In looking back through all of the interviews that Steve Smith has done with Modern Drummer, most have been based around Vital Information or Journey. While those groups are both excellent examples to study Steve as a musician, his musical scope is far greater.

A passing comment on Steve’s versatility would be an understatement. For example: There was a time from January to April 2016 where Steve Smith recorded a solo drum set album (Fabric of Rhythm,) a new Vital Information album (Heart of the City,) played live shows and recorded a new album with Steps Ahead and the famed WDR big band (Steppin’ Out – with WDR Big Band Cologne,) performed straight-ahead jazz at Birdland Jazz Club NYC with the Groove Blue Organ Trio and the next week played Madison Square Garden with Journey! Who else does that?

Steve answered that question with a nice synopsis of his drumming approach, “Understanding what every gig requires is essential. Developing that understanding means living with a particular musical approach for a long time. Initially it’s a case of studying the music and practicing the music, but then you have to immerse yourself in playing the music by being hired by someone that excels at that style. That way you get to play the music night after night and really embrace and inhabit the musical concept. I have been fortunate to have been hired for many different situations because the bandleader, or band, believed that I have the potential to do the gig. Then I put in the work to develop and try to become a master of that gig and of that musical situation. I have been extremely lucky to be able to go from Berklee to Jean-Luc Ponty to Ronnie Montrose to Journey to Steps Ahead to all of the various Indian musicians that I have been playing with. You can study a style of music with all your heart but studying can only get you so far. Hopefully, it will get your foot in the door, but the real learning starts when you go out and play the music. That’s the real university.”

Unfortunately, a lot of that development, and many of the gigs that Steve has immersed himself in have gone un-recorded or have appeared on very hard to find authorized recordings. But the times have changed… (Continued in the Steve Smith MD Legends book)

RELEASED! Steve Smith and Vital Information Four CD Set!

Wounded Bird Records has released the first four Vital Information albums in
a four CD set. The music was originally recorded for Columbia Records from 1983-1988. The albums have been newly mastered from original ¼” masters.

Steve Smith explains, “I searched my storage unit and found unmastered, ¼” safety copies of all four albums. My mastering engineer, Jim Brick of Absolute Audio, had the tapes baked and transferred onto digital. Jim did such an amazing job with the new mastering of the albums that they sound far better than the original releases.”

Go here to learn more and order your signed/personalized copy!

Steve Smith Extended Interview with Rob Hart

Drummer/Educator Rob Hart, who is an ex-student of Steve Smith's, interviews Steve with questions about subjects motivated by Rob's ongoing teaching practice. In this wide ranging interview, which will be interesting to teachers, students and professional musicians, Steve discusses the influence of mentors, his early drum lessons, practice, developing new ideas, reading music, pulse and time, studio work, touring, developing equanimity, inner dynamics and memorizing music and much more. This is a thought provoking, educational and insightful interview.

Steve Smith Pays Tribute to Baron Browne

Baron Browne, my beloved rhythm section partner, passed away early in the morning of September 2, 2021. Baron and I have played together since 1998, when he joined my band Vital Information. From the day I first played with him until now, he was my first-call bass player. We toured and recorded with Buddy’s Buddies, Jazz Legacy, and pianist Aydin Esen. We toured Europe with saxophonist Bill Evans, recorded for Andrea Bocelli; our final gig together was with Steps Ahead on November 15, 2019. Baron played on a total of twelve of my albums, my Hudson Music educational videos and myriad gigs including the Drum Fantasy Camp rhythm section and The Buddy Rich Big Band. You could say he was the bass player of my lifetime.

Baron’s creativity found an outlet on the Vital Information albums as I gave him free rein for his exceptional production and compositional ideas, which were influential to the overall sound of the group. As an improviser, he was of the highest level, and not just as a soloist. As a bass player he would develop new, and compositionally amazing, basslines night after night and inspire the entire group with his deep groove and creativity. Baron and I were close friends and enjoyed our time together on the road, both offstage and onstage. As a legacy, he now has instilled in me the awareness to cherish, in the moment, every band member and experience I have from this day forward. I certainly cherish him and will remember his face, his joy and basslines on every gig I play as I go on without his physical presence.

This video montage was produced by drummer and video editor Christian Grassart, as a loving tribute to Baron Browne who was loved by all who played with him and all who knew him.

Click here to read Baron Browne's obituary written by jazz writer Michael West.

Steve Smith on The Playful Musician Podcast

Check out this great podcast with Steve Smith!

Steve Smith: From The Practice Room

Steve has been distancing at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. But during this time, he has been creative and productive.

Steve has been posting videos as part of a series called "From The Practice Room." The series includes videos about brush playing, Indian konnakol, and much more. We will be updating this page with more and more videos from Steve's practice room. Make sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest!

You can see the entire "From The Practice Room" playlist on Steve's YouTube page.

From The Practice Room
InstaLessonZ: Part 1

Steve filmed a series for Zildjian that focused on hand technique using flam taps, eventually getting into flammed diddles & phrases of 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, & 9. Good for your chops and improv vocabulary.

Steve uses four version of matched gripo as described in his "Pathways of Motion" book (Hudson Music). Download the PDF, below!

Flams PDF

From The Practice Room:
A Drumset Application of Konnakol and South Indian Rhythms Pt. 1

Steve Smith teaches about South Indian rhythms and applies them to the drumset. Download two helpful PDFs, below, for a transcription of what Steve played in this video - and to learn about konnakol syllables, suggested stickings, and the form of the Korvai (rhythmic composition).

The Paul DeLong transcription PDF features the konnakol and drumset transcriptions used in the video, below. The Ram Swaminathan transcription PDF features more traditional spelling of the konnakol syllables, suggested stickings and the form of the korvai (rhythmic composition) is notated. This PDF is also based on Steve's video, below.

Paul DeLong Ram Swaminathan

From The Practice Room
Steve Smith and Tony Monaco: "Oleo"

Drummer Steve Smith and Hammond B3 master Tony Monaco are swinging hard on Sonny Rollins' "Oleo." This tune was recorded in each musician's home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From The Practice Room:
Brushes Lesson

Here's a quick lesson in brush playing! Make sure to check out the amazing Hudson Music DVD "The Art of Playing with Brushes," which features Steve, Billy Hart, Eddie Locke, Joe Morello, Charli Persip, Ben Riley, and Adam Nussbaum - plus bonus footage with Ed Thigpen and Louis Bellson!

From The Practice Room
A Conversation with Hudson Music featuring Steve Smith, Jeff Hamilton, and Adman Nussbaum

An insightful conversation and demonstrations of the art of brush playing! Hosted by Rob Wallis of Hudson Music.

Go here to see the entire series on Steve's YouTube channel!

Zildjian #Instalessonz Live

Steve is taking part in Zildjian's #Instalessonz Live on Facebook: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 3pm ET. Check it out on the Zildjian page! The video will be available here once it is complete.

Click the PDF link on the right to download a chart from the lesson!

Recent Videos!

Here are some recent videos from Steve Smith. Make sure to check out the YouTube page for tons of great content!

Smith vs. Smith

The beginning of this "drum battle" with myself was inspired by the album "Rich versus Roach." In my early teens, I'd listen to the album over and over and tried my best to play like Buddy and Max. As the drum battle starts, on the left side I'm playing in the intense, snare-drum-chops-oriented style of Buddy Rich. On the right side, I'm playing in the be-bop-melodic-lyrical style of Max Roach. As the duet progresses, I'm going for it on both sides and I end by playing some South Indian rhythmic compositions in unison. Having a drum battle/duet with myself was a fun way to conclude the Hudson Music "Drum Legacy: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" project. - Steve Smith

2020 Drumtek Clinic Footage

In this clinic video, I am “playing the room,” which means being aware of the size of the space and playing at an appropriate overall level to have the drums sound full - but not too loud for the listeners. I’m demonstrating a wide range of overall dynamics plus inner dynamics, touch, and tone.

- Steve Smith

Thanks to Drumtek Australia, Sonor Drums, Zildjian, Remo, Vic Firth, DW pedals, Hudson Music, Cympad International, and PureSound Percussion.
Tom Coster, Jan Hammer, Steve Smith, Frank Gambale: NAMM Show 1991

The group perfomrs "Caught in the Act" by Walter Afanasieff.

Click here to see more videos!

Journey Shows and Steve Smith Las Vegas Art Events!

Steve performed with Journey throughout the month of October at The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace! Additionally, Steve was at Carnavale Gallery at Caesar's on October 10, 17, and 24, discussing his new art collection through Scene Four!

Click here to learn more about Steve's art!

Steve Featured in VF Jams!

Steve is featured in the latest edition of VF Jams - music videos produced by Vic Firth that feature top drummers jamming with an incredible band!

In this edition, Steve performed the Vital Information tune "8 + 5," which was written by Steve, Baron Browne, and Vinny Valentino. This version was arranged by the great Robert "Sput" Searight. Check it out below!

Order NOW! Heart of The City from Vital Information NYC Edition!

Vital Information NYC Edition is back!

Steve Smith's band, whose lineage goes back more than 30 years, has released it's burning new album, "Heart of the City." It features 12 tunes performed by six amazing musicians: Baron Browne (bass and vocals), Mark Soskin (piano and Rhodes), Vinny Valentino (guitar), Andy Fusco (alto sax), and George Brooks (tenor and alto saxes).

Click here to order the CD directly from Steve! All copies are signed and will be shipped immediately!

Also available in the iTunes store!

Journey 2019 Tour Wrapup!

Steve and Journey played more than 60 shows all over the United States this summer! The band split most of its shows with Def Leppard, who put on an amazing show. Steve enjoyed seeing fans and also some old friends along the way!

Click here for all the latest news!

2024 Schedule

Wednesday, June 5, 2024
Steve Smith & Vital Information
Steve Smith (drums) Manuel Valera (keyboards) Janek Gwizdala (bass)
The Jazz Kitchen
5377 N. College Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46220
Two shows: 6:00pm & 8:30pm
Click here for tickets! 

Thursday, June 6, 2024
SONOR DAY at Sweetwater with Steve Smith & Vital Information
Steve Smith (drums) Manuel Valera (keyboards) Janek Gwizdala (bass)
Sweetwater Sound
5501 US Hwy 30 W.
Fort Wayne, IN 46818
Click here for more info!

Friday, June 7, 2024
Steve Smith & Vital Information
Steve Smith (drums) Manuel Valera (keyboards) Janek Gwizdala (bass)
Green Mill Jazz Club
4802 N. Broadway Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
Please read FAQ re: The Green Mill 

Saturday, June 8, 2024 (FREE!)
Bellson Music Festival
Steve Smith 11:00am drum clinic
McCormick Event Center
205 E. 3rd St.
Rock Falls, IL 61071
Steve Smith & Vital Information 8:00pm concert
Steve Smith (drums) Manuel Valera (keyboards) Janek Gwizdala (bass)
RB&W District
201 E. 2nd Street
Rock Falls, IL 61071

Sunday, June 9, 2024
Steve Smith & Vital Information 6:45pm doors, 7:30pm music
Steve Smith (drums) Manuel Valera (keyboards) Janek Gwizdala (bass)
The Algoma Club
103 Algoma Boulevard
Oshkosh, WI 54901
General Tickets
Presale Tickets
Dinner & Show packages available! Call: 920-230-1082

Monday, June 10, 2024
Steve Smith & Vital Information
Steve Smith (drums) Manuel Valera (keyboards) Janek Gwizdala (bass)
The Dakota
1010 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Click here for tickets!

Click here for all the dates and info!