Re: Steve Smith
Steve is (and has been for a while now) my favorite drummer. He can slam, groove, whatever and do it all so dang well it's sickening!
His DVDs really opened up my playing and got me playing in a more relaxed fashion. I really want to get the new Hudson Music Brushes DVD he collaborated on too.
I used to be really into really technical music. But my friend is a big Stu Hamm fan and got the "Show Me What You Can Do" with Stu, Frank Gambale and Steve Smith. It had tons of over the top stuff, but there were a lot of little things that Steve did. I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. It really opened up my EARS to the subtle things in drumming as opposed to the crazy speed and slamming stuff.
So his influence has led me to change my playing and even my goals in improving. And I think much for the better too.
His Tone Center label recordings are all very, very good. It's mostly fusion. My favorites are the "Show Me What You Can Do" and the two Vital Tech Tones CDs. Very good stuff with some really creative musicians.