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Steps Ahead - Holding Together: Live in Europe 1999 (2002) 2CDs

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Steps Ahead - Holding Together: Live in Europe 1999 (2002) 2CDs

Steps Ahead - Holding Together: Live in Europe 1999 (2002) 2CDs
Mike Mainieri - Bob Berg - Eliane Elias - Marc Johnson - Peter Erskine

EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 733 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 291 Mb | Scans included
Fusion, Post-Bop, Contemporary Jazz | Label: NYC Music | # NYC 6033-2 | Time: 02:03:21

In the summer of 1999, Steps Ahead founder/vibraphonist Mike Mainieri joined Eliane Elias, Bob Berg, Marc Johnson and Peter Erskine for a reunion tour of Europe. They recorded several of those shows but Mainieri didn’t listen to the tapes for two years. He eventually did, and the result is the two-CD set Holding Together (N.Y.C.). The musicians perform the tunes with great sensitivity to one another, both as an ensemble and in solo spotlights. “Uncle Bob” just swings along, while Mainieri’s gliding vibes impart an almost magical quality to a lovely version of Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood,” and “The Time Is Now” is a 22-minute-plus opus that gives everyone a chance to shine. There are too many high points on this solid set to mention, but it should be noted that Berg’s playing is vigorous and inventive throughout and provides a poignant reminder of the profound loss the jazz world suffered when he was killed in a car accident.

Review by Lucy Tauss, JazzTimes.com

In its early incarnations, Steps Ahead was an ongoing concern for founder/vibraphonist Mike Mainieri. The original lineup, called simply Steps, featuring saxophonist Michael Brecker, pianist Don Grolnick, bassist Eddie Gomez, and drummer Steve Gadd, had a regular New York club residence in the late '70s before recording its first three albums for a Japanese label. Personnel would gradually shift throughout the '80s, but in recent years it's become something of a revolving door, with the lineup for each tour often differing significantly from the previous one.

Sometimes the group is electric—as with this summer's tour, which includes Brecker, guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Richard Bona, and drummer Steve Smith—other times acoustic. Captured in concert during a '99 European tour, the all-acoustic Holding Together brings together pianist Eliane Elias, double-bassist Marc Johnson, and drummer Peter Erskine—in addition to being a strong showcase for the considerable talent and power of saxophonist Bob Berg, who sadly passed away in '02 at the age of 51. While each edition of Steps Ahead offers something different, the pure chemistry and fun evident on this two-hour double-disc set makes it one of the strongest lineups in years.

Along with its fitting tribute to Berg, it's great to see the band continuing to play pieces by Grolnick—in this case the funky "Pools," originally recorded on its '83 Elektra debut, Steps Ahead, and the harder-swinging "Uncle Bob," a staple from the early Steps repertoire. Grolnick passed away in '96 of cancer, and while he was sadly under-acknowledged by the larger listening public, amongst musicians his talents as a pianist, composer, arranger, producer, and musical director were held in high regard and demand.

Referencing familiar songs through direct quotation during a solo is a long-standing jazz tradition dating back at least as far as saxophonist Dexter Gordon's work in the '50s, and Berg, Mainieri, and Elias find entertaining ways to liberally inject them throughout the set, where everyone gets the opportunity to improvise at length—all but two tracks clock in at well over ten minutes.

That everyone in the band has worked together often over the years in a variety of contexts is what makes the album sparkle with energy and vivid interplay. Erskine and Johnson provide the kind of rock-solid anchor and unerring groove that still manages to retain a loose fluidity. Elias' Latin roots are in clear evidence on her composition "The Time is Now," but so are her broader stylistic concerns.

It's hard to believe that Mainieri is nearing seventy. While he and Gary Burton emerged on the scene at the same time, Burton's career has somewhat eclipsed his, which is unfortunate because Mainieri has always been equally innovative and arguably more contemporary in his embrace of technology.

With a six-CD box set of live Steps performances from the past thirty years in the works for a fall release, Holding Together more than whets the appetite. Vigorous yet richly nuanced, it's a live album that's the next best thing to being there.

Review by John Kelman, AllAboutJazz.com


Steps Ahead at Allmusic
Steps Ahead at Wiki

Mike Mainieri - vibraphone
Bob Berg - saxophone
Eliane Elias - piano
Marc Johnson - double bass
Peter Erskine - drums

Recorded live in Europe in July 1999.

Tracklist:

CD1:

01. Bowing to Bud (Elias) - 11:13
02. Copland (Mainieri) - 10:52
03. Autumn Rose (Erskine) - 8:47
04. Pools (Grolnick) - 10:03
05. All the Things You Are/Soul Eyes (Kern-Hammerstein) - 15:55
06. Uncle Bob (Grolnick) - 10:02

CD2:

01. Dee Minor (Mainieri) - 11:33
02. The Time Is Now (Elias) - 22:32
03. In a Sentimental Mood (Ellington) - 14:45
04. Friday Night at the Cadillac Club (Berg) - 7:33


Exact Audio Copy V0.99 prebeta 4 from 23. January 2008

EAC extraction logfile from 28. April 2012, 17:20

Steps Ahead / Holding Together

Used drive : HP DVD Writer 640b Adapter: 4 ID: 0

Read mode : Secure
Utilize accurate stream : Yes
Defeat audio cache : Yes
Make use of C2 pointers : No

Read offset correction : 102
Overread into Lead-In and Lead-Out : No
Fill up missing offset samples with silence : Yes
Delete leading and trailing silent blocks : No
Null samples used in CRC calculations : Yes
Used interface : Installed external ASPI interface
Gap handling : Appended to previous track

Used output format : User Defined Encoder
Selected bitrate : 320 kBit/s
Quality : High
Add ID3 tag : No
Command line compressor : C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\flac.exe
Additional command line options : -8 -V -T "ARTIST=%a" -T "TITLE=%t" -T "ALBUM=%g" -T "DATE=%y" -T "TRACKNUMBER=%n" -T "GENRE=%m" -T "COMMENT=EAC FLAC -8" %s


TOC of the extracted CD

Track | Start | Length | Start sector | End sector
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Track 1

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Track 2

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Copy CRC 4729D83D
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Track 3

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Track 4

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Track 5

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Track 6

Filename C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\StepsAhead - Holding Together\06Uncle Bob.wav

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Peak level 96.6 %
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Copy CRC D2542795
Accurately ripped (confidence 3) [5491E892]
Copy OK


All tracks accurately ripped

No errors occurred

End of status report

[CUETools log; Date: 15.11.2018 0:01:11; Version: 2.1.4]
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4 | (10/10) Accurately ripped
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foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2018-11-15 00:08:39

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Steps Ahead / Holding Together CD1
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR8 -0.28 dB -10.61 dB 11:13 01-Bowing to Bud
DR7 -0.30 dB -9.63 dB 10:52 02-Copland
DR11 -0.30 dB -14.52 dB 8:47 03-Autumn Rose
DR9 -0.30 dB -13.23 dB 10:04 04-Pools
DR13 -0.30 dB -16.68 dB 15:56 05-All the Things You Are/Soul Eyes
DR8 -0.30 dB -9.76 dB 10:02 06-Uncle Bob
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 6
Official DR value: DR9

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 936 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================


Exact Audio Copy V0.99 prebeta 4 from 23. January 2008

EAC extraction logfile from 29. April 2012, 16:49

Steps Ahead / Holding Together

Used drive : HP DVD Writer 640b Adapter: 4 ID: 0

Read mode : Secure
Utilize accurate stream : Yes
Defeat audio cache : Yes
Make use of C2 pointers : No

Read offset correction : 102
Overread into Lead-In and Lead-Out : No
Fill up missing offset samples with silence : Yes
Delete leading and trailing silent blocks : No
Null samples used in CRC calculations : Yes
Used interface : Installed external ASPI interface
Gap handling : Not detected, thus appended to previous track

Used output format : User Defined Encoder
Selected bitrate : 320 kBit/s
Quality : High
Add ID3 tag : No
Command line compressor : C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\flac.exe
Additional command line options : -8 -V -T "ARTIST=%a" -T "TITLE=%t" -T "ALBUM=%g" -T "DATE=%y" -T "TRACKNUMBER=%n" -T "GENRE=%m" -T "COMMENT=EAC FLAC -8" %s


TOC of the extracted CD

Track | Start | Length | Start sector | End sector
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––-
1 | 0:00.00 | 11:33.72 | 0 | 52046
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3 | 34:06.67 | 14:45.33 | 153517 | 219924
4 | 48:52.25 | 7:33.62 | 219925 | 253961


Track 1

Filename C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\StepsAhead - Holding Togerher - disc two\01Dee Minor.wav

Peak level 96.6 %
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Copy CRC 5DE7B6B1
Track not present in AccurateRip database
Copy OK

Track 2

Filename C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\StepsAhead - Holding Togerher - disc two\02The Time Is Now.wav

Peak level 96.6 %
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Copy CRC C2EEBC7C
Track not present in AccurateRip database
Copy OK

Track 3

Filename C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\StepsAhead - Holding Togerher - disc two\03In A Sentimental Mood.wav

Peak level 96.6 %
Track quality 100.0 %
Copy CRC BFC50BA9
Track not present in AccurateRip database
Copy OK

Track 4

Filename C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\StepsAhead - Holding Togerher - disc two\04Friday Night At The Cadillac Club.wav


Peak level 96.6 %
Copy CRC E46692DA
Track quality 99.9 %
Track not present in AccurateRip database
Copy OK


No tracks could be verified as accurate


No errors occurred

End of status report

[CUETools log; Date: 15.11.2018 0:07:55; Version: 2.1.4]
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Track [ CRC | V2 ] Status
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Offsetted by -18:
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Track Peak [ CRC32 ] [W/O NULL]
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foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2018-11-15 00:09:18

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Steps Ahead / Holding Together CD2
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR10 -0.29 dB -11.70 dB 11:34 01-Dee Minor
DR10 -0.29 dB -13.47 dB 22:33 02-The Time Is Now
DR13 -0.30 dB -16.07 dB 14:45 03-In a Sentimental Mood
DR10 -0.30 dB -12.57 dB 7:34 04-Friday Night at the Cadillac Club
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 4
Official DR value: DR11

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 904 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Steps Ahead - Holding Together: Live in Europe 1999 (2002) 2CDs

All thanks to original releaser

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