A friend and I share a love for the music of the fusion band Steps Ahead, fronted by Mike Manieri. I recently discovered some new recordings that are available, predating the first recordings under that name but made by the same members (thanks, emusic!)
Lsitening to the early work, I can hear the development of the band's sound, which to me, culminated in the 1989's "NYC," compositionally speaking. Many of the tracks on the earlier "Modern Times" (1984) are better, with Michael Brecker playing brilliantly on saxophone.
Bendik replaced Brecker by the time "NYC" was recorded.
Of course, I will admit to not having listening to "Modern Times" in quite a while -- it was the last time I lent someone a Steps Ahead album or CD ... I never got it back!