Eliane Elias invites Steps Ahead | SFJAZZ
Eliane Elias invites Steps Ahead
Saturday brings the long-awaited reunion of one of jazz’s most beloved and powerful jazz-fusion bands of the 1980s, Steps Ahead. Formed by vibraphonist and composer Mike Mainieri in 1979, the band featured an ever-changing cast of top class instrumentalists over its two decade existence, with Elias joining for their first major release in 1983 – an album that marked Elias’ debut on record and served as a powerful first statement from the keyboardist. Though she would depart after the recording for her own burgeoning career as a bandleader, her impact on the future of the group was established, and she returned for a set of reunion shows in 1999 with Mainieri, longtime drummer Peter Erskine, bassist Marc Johnson, and saxophonist Bob Berg replacing the late Michael Brecker – appearances documented on the 2005 release Holding Together on Mainieri’s own NYC Music label. This lineup, with superlative saxophonist Bob Sheppard standing in for the late Bob Berg, comes together for Elias’ final night of residency – a welcome return for one of the most brilliant and respected jazz groups of the late 20th century.
Eliane Elias piano
Bob Sheppard tenor saxophone
Mike Mainieri vibraphone
Marc Johnson bass
Peter Erskine drums