Excerpt by Janet Kingdom -
Robbie Smith blew into my life several years ago. He was playing horn in the same big band rehearsals that I attended. He was usually the youngest guy in the bands, good chart reader, did some nice soloing on his horn and could play flugelhorn too, one of those rare musicians who can read and improvise. He just played his part, but I could feel the wheels turning as he listened and learned. He used the good stuff and threw away the not so good stuff.
He was always striving to get the sound he wanted, always "workin" it. He learned the mechanics of the horn and has an understanding of how the horn works, using this knowledge to produce the sound he wants. The vibes coming from him were strong. I knew his sound would be pure, simple and perfectly executed when he had honed it.
I started to listen when he played with blues bands, swing bands, jazz ensembles and top 40s groups. Knowing the structure of many styles allowed him to slip in and out of them for the right sound, becoming a stylist in his own right. And, of course, the mute added another dimension to his playing. It has an exquisite quality when he plays a lonely, soulful ballad. You are totally immersed in what he is saying and can't escape.
When he went on the road he stopped being a rehearser and became a performer. You have to produce, night after night, using all of your musical abilities to stay viable. After several world tours he had stretched out and began to arrange, compose, write lyrics, do vocals and keep the van running from one town to the next. He was hearing it all and had found the sound he had been searching for. How sweet it is.
He can take a piece written for trombone and make it happen on trumpet or a tenor sax piece becomes a master piece of flugelhorn improvisation. His arrangements make the horn section sing in harmony. This CD is the culmination of all his musical experience from jazz to blues. As you listen you can hear it all coming at you. It is also about coming home for it is obvious, Blues is home!
The musicians recorded here have been gigging together for many years in different bands, different places and most of them at one time or another have been on world tours with the blues singer, Candye Kane. Over the years they have all grown in their musical abilities, many of them composing, forming their own groups, always putting their individual interpretations to the music they love. Robbie sensed the time was right to catch them doing their thing. This CD will inspire you to sing and dance, laugh and cry, and shout, Yeah, Man! You will also hear the sounds of a "bad ass" horn section.
1) PEACOCK ALLEY 4:43
2) 'TAINT IN THE MOOD 3:35
3) UPTOWN WOMAN 5:14
4) BLACK MAGIC 2:43
5) WORKIN' LIKE A DOG 4:36
6) ROBBIE'S RHUMBA 5:58
7) WILLOW WEEP FOR ME 5:34
8) JUMPIN' THE BLUES 4:56
9) BEDROCK 3:43
10) THE CROSSROADS OF MY HEART 4:39
11) PASS THE PEACE PIPE 4:49
12) CAN'T BE TRUSTED 3:19
I would like to extend an extra "thank you" to the musicians, who contributed their musical talents to this CD. Special thanks to Eric Lieberman, who�s been a great friend and supporter by continually inviting me to play with his band, Blue Largo. And, my long-time friend Marty Conley, who helped get the ball rolling and continues to include me in his band, Big Band Express. To Candye Kane, thanks for taking me out and showing me the world! You encouraged me to relax and have fun by not taking things too seriously. To Sue Palmer, for your wonderful friendship and upbeat style. You are such a joy to play with! To Jonny Viau, for your continued friendship and inspiration. I love you man!
Sincerest thanks to Janet Kingdom, who befriended me several years ago, and continues to show her support by joining me at various gigs. Had she not offered the use of �Kingdom Studios� none of this would have been possible.
And a special thank you to Teri Conrad, (www.creativeimagesbyteri.com), for following me all over Southern California, to get the perfect shot, capturing a side of me that few have seen, which made me look and feel like a star. You're a good one!
A word of acknowledgement for my most prominent trumpet influences: Chet Baker, Clifford Brown, Maynard Ferguson and Les Kepics (mentor and nemesis); as well as the stylistic influences of Louis Prima, Louis Jordan, and Wynonie Harris.
Thank you to Mike Castillo, and all the Folks at Auto Art Collision Repair, (www.autoartcollision.com), for your flexibility and continued support.
Personal thanks to everyone who's offered their support throughout the years in helping me achieve this life long dream you know who you are! J
For booking and other information call 760.443.5656