Re: Steve Smith
History of the U.S. Beat DVD is great. This is a must for all drummers!
Check out his another project Vital Tech Tones w/ Scott Henderson and Victor Wooten, too...they play John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" and it's really jaw-dropping.
I have met with Steve a couple of times, at NAMM show and a drum clinic in Tokyo, both last year. In Tokyo, a guy who was my teacher at that time and myself "kidnapped" Steve right after the clinic, and drove him to Blue Note Tokyo to talk with the booking manager, but we couldn't catch him there. I called the booking manager's cell phone and let him talk with Steve. They talked for a while, and then we took him to the restaurant where Sonor people were waiting for him.
Steve studied at Berklee first with Alan Dawson, and then Gary Chaffee. Alan left Berklee while Steve was in Berklee, so after that Steve took Gary's class at school and also had Alan's private lesson at his home. Vinnie Colaiuta was a fellow student at that time, and Steve & Vinnie often took a bus ride to NYC to hear Tony Williams or Steve Gadd. They are still good friends.