Graham Smith Jazz
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I am a Midlands based jazz drummer who enjoys performing all genres of jazz, from New Orleans and Trad, to Swing and Mainstream. From an early age my musical family influenced me. My grandfather, father and his two brothers were accomplished and jobbing musicians. My father was a renowned dance band pianist, who had a strong interest in big bands and jazz ensembles and my childhood was filled with the sound of their music. I attempted to emulate his keyboard skills but realizing that I would never reach his standard the opportunity to acquire a drum set, when I was aged eleven, determined my musical direction. During my teenage years, until my early twenties I served my musical apprenticeship playing alongside my father in his dance bands until my career in a building society began to be more demanding and offer the potential of greater financial security.
After a break of 20 plus years, I picked up the sticks again, when I was recruited by the Warwickshire based Pete Harris Jazz Band to help out using my then 10 year old son's newly acquired drum kit. This led to the formation of my own band 'Jazz Allsorts', utilizing my father's keyboard talents, and became a popular gigging jazz band.
The chance to take early retirement from the executive of Woolwich PLC in 2000 was followed by an invitation to, initially share, and eventually permanently, occupy the drum chair with The Antique Six Jazz Band led to a decade of touring jazz clubs and festivals at home and abroad until the band's retirement in 2011.
My membership of the 'Antiques' aided the development of my percussion skills and attracted the attention of bandleaders and artists that now sees me fulfilling regular 'first call' engagements with top class bands.
I relish the chance to play different styles of jazz and take particular pleasure to do so in responding to numerous requests to deputize with other established bands and combinations supporting well jazz artists from the UK and abroad including Jeff and Anne Barnhart(USA), Jim Fryer(USA), Chris Barber, Roy Williams, Pete Allen, Amy Roberts, John Hallam, Digby Fairweather and Alan Barnes.
My drumming style has been described as versatile and sympathetic. I attribute this to the disciplines demanded of the performances I was engaged to deliver in my youth always in a professional manner, ever mindful of my father's demands that I be a 'listening' drummer and my study and admiration of the styles of such jazz drumming icons as Buddy Rich, Baby Dodds, Gene Krupa, Joe Morrello, Ed Thigpen, Lenny Hastings and in more recent times Stanton More as well as the encouragement and praise of the numerous musicians I work with. My interest in drumming has prompted a small, but growing collection of drums and drum kits.
Making music gives me pleasure, as does making it available for others to appreciate and enjoy. My membership of the organizing committee of Pershore Jazz , presenting a popular monthly jazz club and a much applauded and attended annual festival in August each year provides a high profile platform for the music I love – and that's JAZZ.
"top English Dixieland Drummer Graham Smith" – Jazz UK magazine December 2012
"GRAHAM SMITH Versatile and swinging drummer as well as the inspiration behind the Pershore Jazz Festival" – John Minnion, Keswick Jazz Festival 2013