|Produced by Daryl Stuermer and Don Murray|
|Released on 1988|
|no chart information|
|Find it at GEMM|
[high resolution photo]
S afe, inoffensive, fusion jazz smoothed over with the pop sensibilities of latter-day Genesis. No surprises there given the parties involved, but I so wanted a surprise from Daryl Stuermer. Steppin’ Out was an opportunity to put the adult pop label behind him and flash the fiery chops that lay largely dormat since the Jean-Luc Ponty years. But Stuermer instead wears the adult pop label like a badge, coming dangerously close to making muzak in the process. In fact, an instrumental version of Phil Collins’ “I Don’t Wanna Know” is the very definition of jazz muzak. Of course I could never tell the difference between smooth jazz and muzak anyway. I’m someone who likes to get inside music, and Steppin’ Out is a hard record to get inside. It works well on the surface, as a soundtrack from Jan Hammer or Pat Metheny might, good at capturing a single mood but not much for holding my attention. As a guitarist, Stuermer’s piercing style will be familiar to longtime listeners, though he does step outside of that style too; at times he had me thinking of Adrian Belew and Andy Summers. As a songwriter, he’s honestly no match for Ponty, Collins or Tony Banks. “The Highlands” is the only melody I might return to in the future. Steppin’ Out isn’t the case of a criminally contained talent breaking free, which is what I hoped it might be. Instead, it’s a light and brisk set of smooth jazz originals featuring synthesizers and some fiery fretwork, not so far removed from the early Yellowjackets albums. If you’re brought here by the Genesis connection and willing to walk down an instrumental path, seek out Steve Hackett and Brand X first.
|GR-9573 back cover||GR-9573 picture sleeve|
DARYL STUERMER -- all guitars, bass (8), drum machine and keyboard sequencing, synthesizer horn arrangements
BRAD COLE -- keyboard synthesizers, synthesizer horn arrangements
LELAND SKLAR -- bass
MARK TORROLL -- drums and percussion, percussion arrangement (5), music pre-production assistance
Gary Barnacle -- alto and tenor sax (2)
Phil Collins -- very funny sleeve notes
Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen -- executive producers
Don Murray -- engineer, mixing
Dimo Safari -- photography
Andy Baltimore, Dan Serrano, David Gibb, Ivan Salgado & Dave Kunze -- graphic design
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