STEPS AHEAD / STEPS

Fusion / Big Band • United States
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STEPS AHEAD / STEPS picture
Originally called Steps when it was formed in 1979 by vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, this group at various times has included tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker; keyboardists Don Grolnick, Eliane Elias, and Rachel Z; guitarist Mike Stern; bassists Eddie Gomez and Darryl Jones; and drummers Peter Erskine and Steve Smith, among others. Its music combines advanced jazz, R&B, rock, and fusion and is frequently exciting. Steps Ahead was most active during 1979-1986, although it still existed on a part-time basis in the mid-'90s.

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STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Discography

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS albums / top albums

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Step By Step (as Steps) album cover 3.83 | 3 ratings
Step By Step (as Steps)
Fusion 1981
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Steps Ahead album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Steps Ahead
Fusion 1983
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Modern Times album cover 4.61 | 5 ratings
Modern Times
Fusion 1984
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Magnetic album cover 3.83 | 3 ratings
Magnetic
Fusion 1986
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS N.Y.C. album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
N.Y.C.
Fusion 1989
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Yin-Yang album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Yin-Yang
Fusion 1992
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Vibe album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Vibe
Fusion 1995
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Steppin Out (with WDR Big Band Cologne) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Steppin Out (with WDR Big Band Cologne)
Big Band 2016

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS EPs & splits

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS live albums

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Smokin' in the Pit (as Steps) album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Smokin' in the Pit (as Steps)
Fusion 1981
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Paradox (as Steps) album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Paradox (as Steps)
Fusion 1982
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Live in Tokyo 1986 album cover 3.33 | 3 ratings
Live in Tokyo 1986
Fusion 1994
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Holding Together album cover 2.25 | 2 ratings
Holding Together
Fusion 2002
STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Steps Ahead, Live 1983 Denmark album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Steps Ahead, Live 1983 Denmark
Fusion 2015

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS re-issues & compilations

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS singles (0)

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Tokyo 1986
Fusion 1986
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
In Europe
Fusion 2003
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
At Mount Fuji Jazz Festival
Fusion 2008

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Reviews

STEPS AHEAD / STEPS Modern Times

Album · 1984 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Steve Wyzard
FAR AHEAD OF ITS TIME

Released in 1984, Modern Times, the group's second album as Steps Ahead, was a radical departure from their self-titled debut. Unlike the first album's mostly acoustic textures, Modern Times is a high-tech, futuristic, jazz-of-tomorrow fusion masterpiece. While many have used sequencers, throbbing synth-bass, and programmed percussion in a jazz context, to this day no one has done it better than this group on this album. Strong compositions, impassioned performances, and early DDD production are married to otherworldly yet urban atmospheres to create one of the best albums any of these distinguished players has ever appeared on.

Steps Ahead were always Mike Mainieri's group, and he is the only player to appear on every album. "Oops" and "Self Portrait" are classic Mainieri compositions: long-lined unforgettable melodies, loud/soft contrasts, quirky bridges, outstanding solos over synth splashes, and sudden endings. His two other songs on this album are a bit more eclectic. "Radio Active" is mostly programmed (special guest: Craig Peyton) and showcases Michael Brecker's multi-tracked licks and best soloing on the album. "Old Town" includes drumbox, gurgling synth loops, Tony Levin on the Chapman Stick, and Mainieri's marimba solo. Ubiquitous drummer Peter Erskine contributes the smooth "Now You Know" with guest (and future band member) Chuck Loeb on guitar, an exquisite Warren Bernhardt piano solo, and Brecker making a rare appearance on soprano sax. Brecker's only composition, "Safari", also features his soprano work before moving to the tenor and a brilliant Mainieri vibraphone solo. Bernhardt's "Modern Times" opens with intricate synth patterns and includes an Eddie Gomez bass solo that's almost drowned in the mix. In the interest of full disclosure, it should be mentioned here that while credited as a full band member, Gomez can only be heard on "Oops", "Modern Times", and "Now You Know". Not surprisingly, he has not appeared on another Steps Ahead album since.

While the shock of high-technology no doubt alienated some listeners, the gamble has paid off in that this album still sounds very, well, MODERN and contemporary over 30 years after its original release. Future Steps Ahead albums would never recapture the innovative, imaginative quality of Modern Times, and would add vocals and a revolving-door line-up that could never hold a candle to this original jazz "supergroup". If you're at all familiar with the players, Modern Times will provide a lifetime's worth of listening pleasure.

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