Sep 23, 2011
Tens of thousands of music lovers are expected to jam Boston city blocks this coming weekend to enjoy jazz, Latin, blues, and more at the 11th annual Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival on September 23-25. Two ticketed events, starring the James Farm and the New Gary Burton Quartet, bookend a day full of free music and festivities up and down Columbus Avenue. Danilo Perez headlines a ticketed event Saturday night.
Among the artists scheduled to appear are Oleta Adams, Dave Samuels and the Caribbean Jazz Project, the Pablo Oblanado Octet, Louis Hayes Cannonball Legacy Band, Bernie Worrell & SociaLybrium, and the guest for Podcast 232, drummer Neal Smith and his quintet.
Smith is an associate professor of percussion at Berklee, and has performed with artists such as Geri Allen, Anita Baker, Tom Harrell, Donald Harrison, and Frank Morgan. Until recently, he could be found anchoring Cyrus Chestnut’s various bands, until he moved on to pursue his own bands. He has recorded several albums as a leader and has produced several projects for various artists on the NASMusic label. He recently recorded a well-received CD as part of the “Live at Small’s” series.
Listen to our conversation and hear selections for Smith;s solo works and his sideman sessions, including:
Cyrus Chestnut – “Heartbreak Hotel“from Cyrus Plays Elvis. At least one critic thought this version of the Presley tune sounded like the score from a Hollywood B horror movie, with Chestnut playing in block chords and Smith slashing away on his drum kit. You decide.
Jackie Ryan – “Dat Dere” from Doozy. The Chestnut Trio was called upon to back Ms. Ryan on her breakout sessions recorded on the West Coast. Here they swing with a vengeance on a Bobby Timmons classic.
Neal Smith - “Reality Of The Hidden Truth” from Swingin' Is Believin'. A Smith original, featuring a larger ensemble composed of Abraham Burton on tenor sax, Antonio Hart on alto sax, Vincent Gardner on trombone, Rick Germanson on piano, Smith on drums, Michael Hawkins on bass and Renato Thoms on percussion.
Neal Smith – “Driftin'” from Some of My Favorite Songs Are… This version of a Herbie Hancock staple features Smith on drums, Mark Whitfield on guitar, Germanson on piano, and Peter Washington on