Anthony Smith Quintet EPK (.pdf)

The Anthony Smith Quintet

Vibraphonist/pianist/composer Anthony Smith enjoyed an accomplished, varied musical career on the West Coast, working as a bandleader, producer, educator, and in-demand sideman in multiple genres. Smith’s groups toured the U.S. extensively, and he also performed in China and Latin America. Smith moved to New York City in early 2014 and immediately focused his energy on “the foundation for everything I have ever done, musically”… jazz. Upon arriving in jazz’s global Mecca, Smith formed an exciting quintet, using the fresh, seldom heard instrumentation of vibraphone, guitar, saxophone, bass and drums. “I wanted to use the vibraphone more as a harmonic instrument, rather than the way it has been traditionally used—as strictly a melodic instrument, playing single-note lines. I come from a strong piano background, and love to apply pianistic ideas to the vibes.” Smith enlisted some of the brightest young talents of the NYC scene: guitarist Syberen Van Munster, saxophonist Kenny Pexton, bassist Petros Klampanis, and drummer Mark Ferber—all artists who also lead or co-lead their own projects, and are busy contributors to the East Coast jazz community. In the fall of 2015, the group released its first studio effort, an ambitious double album of Smith’s original material titled Play It Forward (Volume One and Two).Critic Dan Bilawsky writes about the music, “Smith has forged a specific sound with his band, but the group isn’t tied to any specific school of thought. These five play it forward in so many different ways, toying with subtext and strategy from song to song.” Bilawsky also notes, “Smith is a musical seeker, not a settler. His pianistic approach to the instrument and avoidance of any manipulative techniques may mark him as a centrist on the instrument itself, but his music paints him as an inquisitive artist and unchained spirit.” Bilawsky isn’t the only one who recognizes Smith’s musical talents. Fred Hersch, the world-renowned pianist/composer, describes Smith as “one of the more talented among the younger generations of jazz musicians I’ve encountered in a long time.” Guitarist Peter Sprague, acclaimed for his work with Geoff Keezer, Billy Childs and many others, says Smith is “a brilliant musician and composer, whose projects offer up a creative blend of jazz roots mixed with modern explorations.” The Anthony Smith Quintet has managed, in a short amount of time, to establish a unique identity, using the vibraphone as a harmonic instrument while exploring compelling textures that combine vibes, guitar and saxophone. An ASQ performance takes the listener on a journey through the modern jazz landscape, from the floating melodicism of “What Time Allows” and “Cautious Optimist,” to the angular intensity of “Park Slope Sasquatch” and “Propulsion,” as well as the soulful, infectious groove of “Welcome to Brooklyn” and “Maroon Corduroy Hipness.” The band is quickly amassing a following in the NYC scene through performances at both Manhattan and Brooklyn venues, and plans to return to the studio in the near future to record a follow-up to their well-received debut. And Smith is steadily establishing himself as one of the most exciting jazz vibraphone voices of his generation. Tony Miceli (vibesworkshop.com) notes, “Anthony is a great pianist who has now emerged as an equally remarkable vibraphonist… he is a highly creative musician, and I love the clarity in his harmonic approach.”