Will Smith

Will’s Contributions


November 2007    Albums

Big Band Urban Folktales
Bobby Sanabria

Big Band Urban Folktales swings as hard as one could want, yet offers music that will excite dancers skilled enough to keep up with the often driving polyrhythms. Add to that some strong soloists and you have a powerful combination. Sanabria, drums, percussion...


October 2007    Albums

Rodriguez Brothers

Listeners will notice some similarities between the Rodriguez Brothers and the Fort Apache Band in the way jazz and Latin roots are blended, although this group’s debut recording shows considerably less connection to the hard bop of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers...


October 2007    Albums

Beyond the Red Door
Bud Shank & Bill Mays

There’s really no news in the fact that alto saxophonist Bud Shank has continued to blossom as a player since ending his long tenure in the West Coast studios. What he creates with sensitive pianist Bill Mays on Beyond the Red Door shows that thoughtful...


October 2007    Albums

More Treasures
Gary Smulyan

It’s clearly permissible to use the F-word—fluent (as well as fleet-fingered and fiery)—in reference to baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan and his More Treasures, the follow-up to last year’s wonder-filled Hidden Treasures. This one mostly burns from the...


October 2007    Albums

You and the Night and the Music
Sonny Fortune

Alto and soprano saxophonist-flutist Sonny Fortune displays Coltrane-influenced sax stylings to great advantage on a couple of tracks on You and the Night and the Music, his first new recording in nearly four years. Mostly, however, Fortune’s frequently...


September 2007    Albums

Whatever Happens
Ari Ambrose

The word retro is almost too new-school when dealing with the stylistic expressions of tenor saxophonist Ari Ambrose. His efforts on Whatever Happens reveal a throwback to the sounds of the tenor players of the ’30s and pre-bop era of the ’40s, when Coleman...


September 2007    Albums

The Good Book—Chapter One
Vincent Gardner

Trombonist Vincent Gardner pays homage to a couple of his forebears with discerning taste on The Good Book—Chapter One, in this case honoring the compositional efforts of Frank Foster, one of his employers, and Horace Silver, who hired Gardner’s father...


July/August 2007    Albums

The Enchantment
Chick Corea & Béla Fleck

Although this musical collaboration by pianist Chick Corea and banjoist Béla Fleck is pleasant enough on the surface, it suffers from an uncomfortable, oil-and-water conflict in the admixture, particularly when the pair works over tunes written by Fleck...


July/August 2007    Albums

Alter Ego
Larry Willis/Tony Pancella

Larry Willis is the more widely known quantity on Alter Ego, a piano duo recording with Italian Tony Pancella, who will be new to most American listeners despite his growing reputation throughout Europe. Pancella studied with Willis 15 years ago in New York...


June 2007    Albums

Blues State
Clay Jenkins

A relatively somber mood pervades much of Blues State, even in its uptempo moments, with trumpeter Clay Jenkins’ music bringing to mind something written in the ’50s to the effect that Miles Davis sounded like a man wandering in the wilderness. Miles, of...


June 2007    Albums

Rez Abbasi

The influx of creative musicians with ties to foreign lands has brought a small but growing and dynamic movement of players with roots in the Indian subcontinent blending Eastern sounds with jazz improvisation. Add to pianist Vijay Iyer and alto saxophonist...


May 2007    Albums

Marsalis Music Honors Alvin Batiste
Alvin Batiste

Clarinetist Alvin Batiste, whose life as a music educator has taken precedence over his recording career, is heard on one of his rare trips to the studio in this latest addition to the Marsalis Music Honors series. It’s a treat for listeners as well as fans...


May 2007    Albums

Live: The Authorized Bootleg
Joey DeFrancesco

The steam begins to rise almost from the first notes of organ titan Joey DeFrancesco’s Live: The Authorized Bootleg, a CD that’s the result of allowing the Yoshi’s house engineer to record the festivities of a four-night stand at the Oakland, Calif., club...

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About Will Smith

Will Smith joined the JazzTimes community on Jun 17, 2008