Jay Smith has performed with dozens of groups all over the US and Europe in a wide range of music from bebop and jazz fusion to latin rock and funk. He has worked with groups and musicians as Marcos Reyes (War), Carl Saunders, Clayton Cameron (Tony Bennet), Kelulu, Mento Buru, The Fresno Philharmonic, David Baron Stevens, Andre Bush, Mike Dana, Velorio, Zambra, and Patrick Contreras to name a few.
He has been on several radio stations and TV stations including Bakersfield's Channels 17, 23, 29/58, The Michael Nayt Show,
Brighthouse Networks, and 107.1 FM KRAB, Fresno's 90.7 KSFR where he currently has his own Radio Show.
Two of his bands (Jay Smith Trio/Group and Kelulu) are selected as Featured Artists on the Global Level on Reverbnation.com. He
was the lead instructor at the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop for first four years.
His latest album, Unashamed Portrayal, (available now on iTunes and 30 other retailers) features Grammy Nominated Guitarist Andre Bush,
Jay Jay Hicks, Saxophonist Chris Nguyen, trombonist Joe Vazquez, trumpeter Mark Manda, Fernando Montoya on acoustic and electric bass, Jonathan Weinmann on drums, and Jorge Nunzio Urbina on percussion. It's been featured on ALL ABOUT JAZZ as their download of the day.
Here's what people are saying about Unashamed Portrayal
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
By GLENN ASTARITA
California-based keyboardist Jay Smith's worldly musical views radiate mightily, as he borrows from the past and reformulates a refreshingly modern vibe, spanning jazz-fusion, blues-rock and more. He also injects panache into the proceedings and garners top-notch support, while fusing a coalition of memorable melodies with a rather ferocious improvisational element. The keyboardist incorporates a vastly entertaining subsystem with penetrating frameworks amid various climactically oriented rhythmical drivers.
By Matt Munoz
On "Alegna," the song's nightmarish abstract intro builds before segueing into an in-the- pocket funk romp, courtesy of bassist Jay Hicks and drummer Jonathan Weinmann, who stir up a fury behind the free play of Grammy-nominated guitarist Andre Bush. Saxophonist Chris Nguyen, trombonist Joe Vazquez, and trumpeter Mark Manda follow before Hicks and Weinmann return for the final resolve. Leading the band is Smith on keyboards, pouring on the equally funky layered Stevie Wonder-ish synth groove. It's raw, loose and at times exhausting at 15 minutes, but, according to Smith, just a facet of his overall vision.
The Coast News
By Jared Whitlock
Smith, 28, appreciates the classics, but he also has an eye to the future. He wants to pick up where more experimental jazz musicians like Miles Davis left off in the 1970s — before the arrival of smooth jazz. “Alegna,” the 15-minute opener of “Unashamed Portrayal,” is certainly ambitious. Smith’s lively keyboard and funk bass lines drive interweaving flourishes from an electric guitar and soulful trumpet, among other instruments that dive in and out of the mix. Other tracks are less sprawling, but a freewheeling mood remains throughout.
Jazz for a new generation
by Jared Whitlock
Not to sound snobbish or one of those record store clerks, but there's a lot of great current music out there, sometimes you just have to look beneath the surface — whether it be indie rock, rap, funk, psychedelic, pop, blues. And previously unbeknownst to me, apparently modern jazz is good too.
Most music magazines and websites don't say much about jazz, and after listening to this record, I'm not sure why. "Unashamed Portrayal" draws from a lot of great times periods — mainly early '70s jazz to my ears. But it's also forward-looking, incorporating modern various styles of modern music.
I could see this having crossover potential, too. Andre Bush's guitar playing sounds unreal, especially on some of the longer tracks. In fact, great, energetic instrumentation isn't hard to find on this album. I dig the saxophone and trumpet. And of course, Jay Smith, who leads this circus, vacillates between wailing on his keyboard and playing moody tones. This is a jazz record for jazz aficionados and modern music fans alike. Highly recommended, opened my mind to this generation's jazz.
Great jazz album!
by Michael Chadburn
One of my favorite albums to come out by an amazing group of supremely talented musicians. Jay has done an excellent job composing and arranging the music. It is the perfect album for listening in most any situation or time of day.