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Steve Smith and Vital Information

Since the release of its first album in 1983, Vital Information has become a jazz fusion band that has surpassed most others.

Now with a lineup that includes Steve Smith on drums, Tom Coster on keyboards, Baron Brown on bass and Vinny Valentino on guitar, Vital Information serves up sounds that range from slamming funk and syncopated grooves to swinging, up-tempo burners and jams.

"... this fusion supergroup is right at the top of their game offering hard-hitting stuff fueled by pros that refused to rest on their existing chops, continuing to push their boundaries into new realms. If you've been digging the recent fusion renaissance from the classic players, this is going to be another feather in your musical cap," according to Chris Spector of Midwest Records.

Vital Information will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at the Mobius, 281 Fourth St., Ashland.

Smith, the group's founder, won Modern Drummer Magazine's nod as the number one drummer for five straight years. In 2002, he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. His resume includes work with Ahmad Jamal, Zakir Hussain, The Buddy Rich Big Band, Steps Ahead and Journey.

Browne, the band's bassist, toured and recorded three albums with jazz-fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Later he toured and recorded with drummer Billy Cobham. Browne began playing with Vital Information in 1997.

Coster's prominence as a keyboard player came during the nine years that he performed and recorded with Santana, appearing on six of the group's classic albums. Coster also worked with Cobham and with jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans. He's recorded many of his own albums and been a member of Vital Information since 1986.

Valentino is the newest member of Vital Information. He's worked with artists such as saxophonist Gary Bartz, trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist George Benson and many others.

Vital Information reintroduces itself to its listeners with every new recording. The band's 12th album, "Vitalization," continues to venture into new territory.

Tickets to the show at the Mobius cost $22. Call 488-8894.