Steps Ahead

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Steps Ahead
OriginNew York City
GenresJazz fusion
Years active1979–present
LabelsElektra/Musician, NYC, Jazzline
Past members

Steps Ahead is a jazz fusion group formed by vibraphonist Mike Mainieri in the 1970s. The lineup consisted of Mainieri, Michael Brecker, Don Grolnick, Eddie Gómez, and Steve Gadd and would change often over the years. Steps Ahead fused elements of rock, funk, jazz, and rhythm and blues.


The group arose out of spontaneous sessions at Seventh Avenue South, a jazz club in New York City owned by saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter brother Randy Brecker. The first three albums were released under the name Steps, later changed to Steps Ahead, on Nippon Columbia in Japan, starting with the debut live album Smokin' in the Pit (1979), followed by Step By Step (1979) and Paradox (1981).[1]

The shifting roster has included saxophonists Bob Berg, Bendik Hofseth, Bill Evans, Ernie Watts, and Donny McCaslin; pianists Eliane Elias and Rachel Z; guitarists Mike Stern, Chuck Loeb, and Steve Khan; bassists Darryl Jones, Tony Levin, Victor Bailey, and Marc Johnson; and drummers Peter Erskine, Steve Smith, and Dennis Chambers.[2]

Steps Ahead was active during the 1970s and '80s, intermittently during the 1990s, reunited for concerts in the mid-2000s,[3] and released a new album in 2016.


Studio albums

  • Step by Step (Better Days, 1980 [1981])
  • Steps Ahead (Elektra/Musician, 1983)
  • Modern Times (Elektra/Musician, 1984)
  • Magnetic (1986)
  • N.Y.C. (Intuition, 1989)
  • Yin-Yang (NYC, 1992)
  • Vibe (NYC, 1994)
  • Steppin' Out (Jazzline, 2016)

Live albums

  • Smokin' in the Pit (Better Days, 1980, reissued from NYC, 1999)
  • Paradox - Live At Seventh Avenue South (Better Days, 1982)
  • Live in Tokyo 1986 (NYC, 1986)
  • Holding Together (NYC, 2005)


  1. ^ Hovan, C. Andrew (1 September 2000). "Steps: Step By Step/Paradox". All About Jazz. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  2. ^ "NYC Records » Bio". NYC Records. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  3. ^ "NPR's JazzSet: Steps Ahead: 2005 Montreux Jazz Festival". NPR. 2006. Retrieved 4 October 2016.

External links[edit]