September 10, 2006


Formed originally by vibe player Mike Mainieri as an all-star group to tour Japan, Steps Ahead became the most interesting fusion group of the eighties. Originally called Steps, the core personnel consisted of Mike Mainieri, Michael Brecker and Eddie Gomez. They never were a collection of soloists content to engage in routine sessions but a group of seasoned veterans joining together to make music and its members listened, reacted to, and supported each other with a sophisticated and powerful balance combining synthesized vibes, EWI (Vitoria fans soon called it “atomic chistu”) and electric bass with tenor sax and piano.

Steps Ahead generated a lot of interest at a time when jazz was struggling more than ever to find a big audience. In 1984 they have made a spectacular debut in Spain at the Festival de Jazz de Vitoria-Gasteiz where the performed again following year. And now, twenty years later, the band has been re-formed with some of its most important elements, achieving a dream lineup: Michael Brecker (tenor sax), Mike Mainieri (vibes), Mike Stern (guitar), Richard Bona (bass) and Steve Smith (drums).