Agent Tom Gold
In December of 1977, vibraphonist, Mike Mainieri, formed a group which became known as ‘Steps’, featuring Michael Brecker, Don Grolnick, Eddie Gomez and Steve Gadd. A year later, it ventured beyond its home, the jazz club “Seventh Avenue South” to Tokyo, Japan to record two albums in one week for Nippon Columbia Records as part of a three-album contract. The group had been performing to sold out crowds for several months, and by now, what had begun as an informal setting for Mainieri’s group to play new compositions or just blow on some standards, took on a momentum of its own.
In retrospect, what fired the imagination of this combination of musicians and their audiences was that this groups ability to swerve in and out of various musical forms with the attitude and abandonment of a New York taxi driver. They maneuvered through straight ahead originals, sambas, standards, funk driven vamps to free form pieces that left the audience breathless.
Their debut double live album, entitled “Smokin’ In The Pit” was first released in 1978 by Nippon Columbia in Japan and went “Gold” in three months. In 1980, there was a change in the line up when legendary drummer, Peter Erskine left “Weather Report” and replaced Steve Gadd at the drums. A year later, Steps (renamed) STEPS AHEAD, recorded its first release on a major label, Electra Records, and introduced the amazing twenty-one year old Brazilian pianist Eliane Elias.
What followed in the next 35 years is legendary, as the groups evolution under Mainieri’s leadership has maintained a high level of musicianship and innovation.
Mike is proud to present the extraordinary artistry of the Steps Ahead ‘alumni’ who have reunited for this year’s musical journey.
STEPS HEAD REUNION TOUR 2016
Mike Mainieri (vibraphone), Eliane Elias (piano), Donny McCaslin (saxophone), Marc Johnson (bass) and Billy Kilson (drums).