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Side Steps - Steps On Edge

Side Steps - Steps On EdgeFormed in 1990, Japanese progressive jazz-rock band, Side Steps has released a total of nine albums over the years, which is a pretty impressive output of one album every 18 months.

Steps On Edge was in fact recorded late in 1993 and released in 1994 but January 2004 sees its re-release by Musea.

On hearing the opening track, one could be forgiven for thinking of British jazz-funk outfit, Shakatak, who were, in fact, quite big in Japan and to this day release ‘special editions’ of their albums in Japan.  Given the lack of vocals, you may start to think more on the lines of Weather Report but perhaps a better comparison is with Kenso as, like Side Steps, they feature guitar in their music.  When all’s said and done, there are moments in Steps On Edge which have elements of each of the aforementioned bands.

The funkier, fast moving and very melodic tracks such as Triumphal Return (Inner Space III), Only A Wish and Latin Rhythm contrast with the more avant garde doodling in Preface – Private Eye and Jazz It, the latter two being a treat for the progressive jazz enthusiast.  Jazz It combines both contrasting styles with a prog edge courtesy of some classic Jan Akerman style guitar snippets now and again.

The closing track, An Eternal Tide, is not so much progressive jazz but more jazz-prog, complete with synth background wash, piano and prominent guitar.

Steps On Edge is a melodic progressive jazz album with tunes and performances that showcase the skill and compositional ability of Side Steps.  The complexity will enrapture the technophiles and the melodies will start the feet tapping of anyone who is not so unfortunate to be paralysed from the waist down.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Musea

Side Steps

 

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