The electric elegance of THE CHET SMITH ORCHESTRA revives the era of romance and swing. A confirmed wizard of orchestral synthesis and Jazz Organ Chet's repertoire includes the arrangements of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhom and Oliver Nelson.
Born in Philadelphia, Chet began his professional career at the age of sixteen. Influenced early on by the original recordings of Jimmy Smith, Duke Ellington, and Erroll Garner, Chet composed and arranged all of the music for his first band, the "Jazz Machine," which was discovered by Jazz guitarist Larry Coryell. He toured the United States as a factory artist for the Conn Organ Company, then settled in the San Francisco bay area where he began performing with Donald "Duck" Bailey. "Wow, what's this guy doing, he has an entirely different approach to playing the organ!" says Bailey. The Chet Smith Orchestra has also appeared with former Duke Ellington drummer, Louie Bellson, and recently released their first CD, BLUE CRESCENDO.
In California Jazz Now, Josh Moscov marvels at Chet's "...ability to create the feel of a big band in a quartet situation," and believes "...the orchestra performs a modern, futuristic form of Jazz that incorporates the Blues of Jimmy Smith and the Big Band feel of Duke Ellington."
The invitations of Bay Area Organ Clubs have acknowledged Chet's musical brilliance and expertise. Chet's credits include touring with the legendary Jimmy Smith as a technical consultant. He was appointed musical director for a Timpany Center Production which was performed at the Flint Center and was aired on Channel 11, an ABC affiliate. Chet's technical expertise has been quoted by Keyboard Magazine in recent articles. He has conducted clinics and assisted lectures on Jazz and bebop at San Jose State University for several years. Doodlin' Productions and Chet co-wrote a presentation on the Jazz Organ featured at the 1996 San Fransisco Jazz Festival. The Chet Smith Orchestra made their national T.V. debut on Black Entertainment Television's Jazz Discovery 1995 program with a viewing audience of 40 million. The San Jose State Symphony Orchestra commissioned Chet's "Wildlife Suite" in October, 1996.
The Chet Smith Orchestra has performed at several Bay Area Jazz festivals. Chet's "keyboard rig" redefines the sound spectrum. His dynamic and sparkling performances are earmarked by the continuous motions of his hands and feet. He has been described by the Oakland Tribune's music critic Larry Kelp as "a real showman." Chet's performance at the 1992 Stanford Jazz Festival was received with enthusiasm and was best described by Rose Musegas in California Jazz Now, "Chet Smith created excitement. ... His arrangements were spellbinding."
Combining his technical wizardry with his musical brilliance, Chet has expanded the limitations of the traditional organ by adding a symphonic scope of sounds in addition to his swinging bass pedal technique. In The Santa Cruz Sentinel, Philip Collins' review of Chet's performance in a Nat "King" Cole Tribute testifies, "Cole fans who were weaned on the orchestrations of Nelson Riddle will be pleased to know that Smith's organ/synthesizer accompaniments are acclaimed for their richness of sound." Chet Smith is an orchestra. His musical presentation guarantees a show that will be long remembered.
|"Duke Ellington is the most illustrious contributor to the world of Jazz and a pioneer in American music. It was his music that truly inspired and taught me how to arrange for a synthesized Jazz orchestra, This positive influence from Duke helped me find my musical niche in the Jazz idiom. I compose music for the orchestral synthesizer. The most important elements of my orchestra are the musicians I have to compose for. True, the synthesizer can reproduce any sound of the orchestra, but it's the human element that brings the sound of my orchestra together. This combination of the orchestral synthesizer and real acoustic instruments produces a new sound which reflects my musical vision, dedication to Duke Ellington, and to all the masters who have inspired me."
Chester E. Smith
|2.||Light Rail Express||8:04|
|4.||Rap It Up||6:47|
|5.||South Keeble Groove||7:05|
|7.||Goodbye Blues Theme||4:42|
|9.||Jump On It||7:50|
|RealAudio (3.0 @ 28.8)|
|Chet Smith||Korg T3 with 25-note MIDI Bass Pedals, Yamaha SY77, Roland R8|
(The Dr. Rhythm)
|Carlos Joe Costa||Latin Percussion|
|Colin Wenhardt||Lead Alto, Flute, Clarinet, Tenor Sax|
|Dawan Muhammad||Tenor Sax|
|Producer||The Alameda Keyboard Studio|
|Recording||Sonic Images, San Jose, California (March & April, 1994)|
This is the perfect title for this groove. Chet wrote this song in 1985 with a quarracha pattern. The 90's version is propelled by a solid bottom-end. The groove is set by the combination of the Roland R8 and Carlos Joe Costa on the Latin Percussion. This musical journey travels through the cosmos with a steady beat, swing hopping all the way.
Light Rail Express
Rap It Up
South Keeble Groove
Goodbye Blues Theme
Jump On It