Piano

By Wednesday, April 18, 2012 Musician No Comments

Anthony Smith began studying jazz piano as an adolescent growing up in the Bay Area. While playing in both the jazz and concert bands at Archibishop Mitty High School, he transcribed solos from records and worked with various private teachers. After graduating, he participated in master classes organized by the pianist Don Haas, and frequented The Garden City, a jazz club in San Jose that presented world class jazz artists on a regular basis. Through the friendship and encouragement of Garden City’s house pianist, Smith Dobson, a world class player in his own right, (Anthony) gained the confidence needed to make the decision to make music the focus of his life.
After two years at DeAnza Junior College, during which he continued studying with Haas, as well as playing both piano and trumpet in the school’s various ensembles, Anthony moved to San Diego (in 1990) to continue his higher education at San Diego State University. There, he studied jazz piano with Rick Helzer, and was a featured soloist in both the large ensemble, conducted by Bill Yeager, and Combo #1, led by Helzer. For a while, Anthony attempted to split his time between jazz and classical studies, but quickly realized he had to make a choice; his future as a pianist, he realized, was in jazz.
Anthony continued transcribing the music of his jazz idols, studying the improvised solos of Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron, Hank Jones, Bill Evans, Mulgrew Miller, Fred Hersch, Kenny Kirkland and many others. He sought then, and still seeks to find a stylistic balance between the traditional language of jazz and contemporary/modern melodic, harmonic and rhythmic developments.
Upon graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Music degree, Anthony became busy not only with jazz projects, but also forays into world music, hip-hop, rock and R&B. “I’ve always had a spirit of adventure, when it comes to embracing different genres of music… but sooner or later, I always come back to my jazz roots. In fact, I think my lifelong love of jazz informs just about everything I do musically.”
As a jazz pianist, Anthony has performed with many of Southern California’s most accomplished artists. He has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, among numerous others. He plays regularly in clubs around San Diego County, leading his own groups and serving as a sideman in others.

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