Reunion – 2016

Steps Ahead

Eliane Elias and Mike Mainieri star

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Steps Ahead (which was originally called Steps) is considered one of the top fusion bands of the 1980s and ‘90s although its music was actually difficult to classify as any one style.

Formed in 1979, the group originally consisted of leader-vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, tenor-saxophonist Michael Brecker, pianist Eliane Elias, bassist Eddie Gomez, and drummer Peter Erskine.

Later members included guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Darryl Jones, and drummer Steve Smith.

The group was less active after the late 1980s although there were occasional partial reunions.

From the 2016 San Sebastian Jazz Festival, Mainieri and Elias are joined by tenor-saxophonist Donny McCaslin, bassist Marc Johnson, and drummer Billy Kilson.

They perform an unidentified original that includes a long and impressive opening piano solo by Elias (who also takes an equally rewarding solo later on) and inventive by Mainieri, Johnson, and Kilson.

-Scott Yanow


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