Steve Smith

New York, New York, US
Artist / Band / Musician
Jazz / Funk / Rock
Tone Center - Hudson Music
Steve Smith's drumming, while decidedly modern, can best be described as a style that embodies the history of U.S. music. His original love of rudimental parade drumming is evident in his intricate solos. Likewise, his command of jazz, from New Orleans music, swing, bebop, avant-garde to fusion, is applied with his powerful rock drumming sensibilities and allows him to push the boundaries of all styles to new heights.

Smith's musical focus is committed to the exploration of improvised music incorporating styles as diverse as: Blues, Jazz, R&B, Funk, Cajun and South Indian Carnatic.

He studied music at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1972-1976.

At Berklee, Smith received valuable instruction from such renowned teachers as Gary Chaffee and Alan Dawson.

While still a 19-year-old student at Berklee, Smith's professional career began in 1974

bands that included the Lin Biviano Big Band, bebopper Buddy DeFranco, and the free-jazz group

The Fringe, featuring George Garzone. In 1976, Smith began his association with jazz/fusion by joining violinist Jean Luc Ponty and recording the album "Enigmatic Ocean" (Atlantic 1977), which also featured guitarist Allan Holdsworth.

However, it was while touring with rocker Ronnie Montrose a year later that Smith was asked to join the popular rock band,


With Journey (1978-1985/1996-1997), Smith toured the world and recorded many successful albums including the immensely popular "Escape" (Columbia 1981) and "Frontiers" (Columbia 1983), both of which garnered the band many Top 40 hits.

In 1985, Smith left Journey to pursue his original passion, jazz, and to continue his developing career as a session player. Over the

next 20+ years, Smith would play on many hits with such diverse artists as: Mariah Carey,

Bryan Adams, Zucchero, Claudio Baglioni, Andrea Bocelli,

Ray Price, and Savage Garden.

In 1983, Smith began leading his own jazz-fusion band, Steve Smith and Vital Information, while still a member of

Journey. Vital Information currently features Tom Coster (Santana) on keys, Baron Browne (Jean-Luc Ponty) on bass, and Vinny Valentino (Bill Evans) on guitar.

Smith is also the bandleader of Steve Smith’s Jazz Legacy, a group carrying on the tradition of many of the great drummer-led jazz bands; communicating with music lovers of all generations,

and striving for excellence and playing non-compromising, burning, straight-ahead jazz.

Jazz Legacy features Andy Fusco on alto sax, Walt Weiskopf on tenor and soprano saxes, Mark Soskin on piano, and Baron Browne

on bass.

Smith has also maintained an extensive touring and recording career, and currently tours with a variety of bands as a featured sideman,

including: Mike Mainieri's group Steps Ahead, which included virtuosos such as

Michael Brecker, Bill Evans, Richard Bona, Anthony Jackson, and

Mike Stern; George Brooks Summit, an Indian/Fusion band featuring

Kai Eckhardt, Fareed Haque, and Zakir Hussain; and Soulbop, a jazz/funk all-star band featuring

Bill Evans, Randy Brecker, David Kikoski, Victor Bailey and Hiram Bullock.

In 1998, Smith began producing and playing on a series of driving electric jazz albums for the

Tone Center label with a revolving cast of talented players such as: Dave Liebman,

Frank Gambale, Stu Hamm, Tom Coster, Larry Coryell,

Jerry Goodman, Howard Levy, Steve Marcus, Scott Henderson, and

Victor Wooten (

Smith’s explosive solos and intricate timekeeping have gained him much acclaim from sources such as

Modern Drummer magazine, whose readers voted him the "#1 All-Around Drummer" five years in a row. In 2001,

Modern Drummer named him as "one of the Top 25 Drummer of All Time," and in 2002, he as voted into the

Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.

In 2003, Smith's Hudson Music DVD "Steve Smith Drumset Technique - History of the U.S. Beat" was voted

the #1 Educational DVD of 2003. For more info on Steve Smith and his many

projects, go to . To hear

Steve Smith and Vital Information, go to:

To hear Steve Smith's Jazz

Legacy, go to:

 Steve Smith selected DVDs:

Steve Smith Drumset

Technique/History of the U.S. Beat (Hudson Music)

Drummers Collective 25th Anniversary featuring Steve Smith and

Victor Wooten duet, The Steve Gadd Gang, Dave Weckl Band and Horacio “El

Negro” Hernandez and John Pattitucci (Hudson Music)

Modern Drummer Festival 2003 Steve

Smith and Vital Information featuring Tom Coster, Frank Gambale, Baron Browne

and special guest Bill Evans (Hudson Music)

A Salute to Buddy Rich with Phil

Collins, Steve Smith and Dennis Chambers (Hudson Music)

Steve Smith Part One + one hour of

bonus footage (Alfred Music)

Steve Smith Part Two + one hour of

bonus footage (Alfred Music)

Journey Live In Houston 1981 Escape

Tour (Sony)

Drum Pad’s 20th

Anniversary DVD – Steve Smith performs one tune with Summit (McCoy) and a

brush duet with Jeff Hamilton (Salt Peanuts) (Altitude Digital Productions)

Steve Smith Selected


Steve recommends these recordings as

best representing his playing in a variety of styles:


Vital Tech Tones with Scott

Henderson, Steve Smith, Victor Wooten

VTT2 with Scott Henderson, Steve

Smith, Victor Wooten

Show Me What You Can Do. . . with

Frank Gambale, Stuart Hamm, Steve Smith

The Light Beyond with Frank Gambale,

Stuart Hamm, Steve Smith

GHS 3 with Frank Gambale, Stuart

Hamm, Steve Smith

Cause and Effect with Larry Coryell,

Tom Coster, Steve Smith

Count's Jam Band - Reunion with Larry Coryell, Steve Marcus,

Steve Smith, Kai Eckhardt

The Stranger's Hand with Jerry

Goodman, Steve Smith, Howard Levy, Oteil Burbridge

Flashpoint with Steve Smith, Dave

Liebman, Anthony Jackson and Aydin Esen

Steps Ahead, Live In Tokyo 1986 with

Michael Brecker, Mike Mainieri, Darryl Jones, Mike Stern and Steve Smith

Steps Ahead, NYC with Mike Mainieri,

Bendik, Tony Levin, Steve Khan and Steve Smith

Steps Ahead, Yin Yang with Mike

Mainieri, Rachael Z, Victory Bailey, Jeff Andrews, Jimi Tunnell and Steve


Soulbop Band Live with Randy Brecker,

Bill Evans, Victory Bailey, Hiram Bullock, Steve Smith and Dave Kikoski

Yo Miles! Sky Garden with Wadada Leo

Smith, Henry Kaiser, Tom Coster, Karl Perazzo, Zakir Hussain, Michael Manring,

John Tchicai, Greg Osby, Mike Kennealy and Steve Smith

Yo Miles! Upriver with Wadada Leo

Smith, Henry Kaiser, Tom Coster, Karl Perazzo, Zakir Hussain, Michael Manring,

John Tchicai, Greg Osby, Mike Kennealy and Steve Smith

Jean-Luc Ponty Enigmatic Ocean with

Allan Holdsworth, Darryl Steurmer, Ralphe Armstrong, Steve Smith and Alan


Tom Coster, T.C. with Randy Jackson,

Steve Smith and Joaquin Lievano

Tom Coster, Ivory Expedition with

Randy Jackson, Steve Smith and Joaquin Lievano

Players with Jeff Berlin, Scott

Henderson, Steve Smith and T Lavitz

Straight-Ahead Jazz

Steve Smith and Buddy's Buddies

featuring Buddy Rich Alumni: Steve Marcus, Andy Fusco, Lee Musiker, Anthony


Steve Smith and Buddy’s Buddies Very

Live at Ronnie Scott’s Set One with Steve Marcus, Andy Fusco, Mark Soskin and

Baron Browne

Steve Smith and Buddy’s Buddies Very

Live at Ronnie Scott’s Set Two with Steve Marcus, Andy Fusco, Mark Soskin and

Baron Browne

Steve Smith/Michael Zilber Reimagined: Jazz Standards Vol. 1

Steve Smith’s Jazz Legacy, Live On Tour, recorded in Hollywood

at Catalina Bar and Grill with Steve Smith, Andy Fusco, Walt Weiskopf, Mark

Soskin and Baron Browne


George Brooks Summit with Zakir Hussain, Fareed Haque,

Kai Eckhardt and Steve Smith

Drum Nation Vol. 1 tracks: Mad Tea Time part 1, Mad

Tea Time part 2 featuring Steve Smith and Zakir Hussain with George Brooks,

Fareed Haque and Kai Eckhardt


Corrado Rustici, Deconstruction Of A

Postmodern Musician with Paul McCandless, Michael Manring and Steve Smith

Neil Zaza, Staring At The Sun with

Ross Valory and Steve Smith

Tony MacAlpine, Edge of Insanity

with Steve Smith and Billy Shehan

Tony MacAlpine,

Chromaticity with Steve Smith

Vinnie Moore, Defying Gravity with

Steve Smith


Ray Price, Prisoner Of Love with

Steve Smith and Steve Bailey

Steve Smith Journey Discography




Dream After Dream



Raised On Radio

Greatest Hits

Trial By Fire

Greatest Hits Live

Time 3


Live In Houston 1981 Escape Tour

Steve Smith and Vital Information


Vital Information (1983)

Orion (1984)

Global Beat (1986)

Fiafiaga (Celebration) (1988)

Vitalive! (1991)

Easier Done Than Said (1992)

Ray Of Hope (1996)

Where We Come From (1998)

Live Around The World (2000)

Show ‘Em Where You Live (2001)

Come On In (2003)
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