Neal Schon The CallingFormer Journey bandmates Neal Schon (guitar) and Steve Smith rekindle the musical chemistry that helped make the ’80s pop-rock band a household name. On this eclectic instrumental collection, Journey fans of old will notice that Smith is somewhat more relaxed in his rock approach today. Steve mostly maintains the groove on these Jeff Beck–, Jimi Hendrix–, and Santana-influenced tracks, improvising briefly on the hard-rocking “Back Smash” with a progressive fusion attitude. The syncopated “56,” co-written by Smith, includes the drummer’s current penchant for Indian rhythms laced with tabla and high-energy chops. The fusion-esque “Primal Surge,” also co-penned by Steve, betrays an underlying Eastern influence as well. Throughout, it’s impressive how artfully restrained Smith can be, given the complex technical advances he’s explored so fully in recent years. (

Mike Haid