Called a "fixture in the Central Valley" (NPR), Jay Smith has had a wide variety of talent flow through his band. From jazz fusion to pop, the band has channeled a wide spectrum of musical genres to stay working and relevant. He is an Alum of California State University Bakersfield and Fresno City College where he earned his Bachelors of Arts and Associates of Arts Degree. He has opened up for groups and musicians as Carl Saunders, Poncho Sanchez, Jeff Coffin, Allan Holdsworth, Malo, Ozomatli, Clayton Cameron, and worked with Kelulu, Mento Buru, The Fresno Philharmonic, Andre Bush, Mike Dana, Velorio, and Patrick Contreras to name a few.
His current projects include Mento Buru which was voted best band of 2018 by Bakersfield Magazine and The Jay Smith Trio/Group which features a variety of players including Cesareo Garasa, Paul Perez, Jay Jay Hicks, Fernando Montoya, Steve Eisen, and Patrick Contreras to name a few.
The band's first album, Unashamed Portrayal, (available on iTunes and 30 other retailers) features Grammy Nominated Guitarist Andre Bush, Jay Jay Hicks, Saxophonist Chris Nguyen, trombonist Joe Vazquez, trumpeter Mark Manda, Fernando Montoya on acoustic and electric bass, Jonathan Weinmann on drums, and Jorge Nunzio Urbina on percussion. It's been featured on ALL ABOUT JAZZ as their download of the day.
Smith's second album, Too Many Notes, was titled by his fans based on his reputation for a blisteringly fast playing style, Patrick Contreras on electric violin, Jay Jay Hicks on 8 string bass, Cesareo Garasa on drums, Fernando Montoya on electric bass and a variety of others are featured on this release.
Smith's third and fourth album are Just Stop and The Trio Showed Up. Just Stop is an album encompassing the time the group spent with Marlon Mackey (vocals) featuring Paul Perez (sax), Justin Kirk on (trombone), Patrick Contreras (violin), Cesareo Garasa (drums), Fernando Montoya (bass), Caleb Moore (bass on "I'm Yours"), Salvador Galindo (guitar on "Torture") James Russell (auxiliary sax on Have I Told You), and Jay Smith (keys). The Trio Showed Up is a live album that Smith produced when the band was performing trio dates throughout 2018 and 2019. Jay Smith (keys, ROLI Seaboard Rise 49), Fernando Montoya (bass) and Cesareo Garasa (electric drums).
Featured in Bakotopia Magazine, the
and FACE Bakersfield, among others, he has
radio stations and TV stations including
Channels 17, 23, 29/58, Brighthouse
Bakersfield on Demand
and 107.1 FM KRAB as well as several times
90.7 KSFR to name a few.
In 2010, two of his bands (the Modern Jazz
were selected as Featured Artists on the
Global Level on
Reverbnation.com. He is a regularly featured
instructor at the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop.
ROLI Seaboard Rise 49
“After about a dozen years in Bakersfield, most of that
time spent in music, Smith has become one of the
musicians in town, and makes his living purely in his
chosen field by performing more than 160 dates a
year and giving
music lessons at Nick Rail Music to some 50
students, from elementary school age to adults in
Steven Mayer, Bakersfield Californian (Dec 15, 2019)
"If you thought jazz goes into hiding after the
Festival, you're wrong. Wildly energetic
keyboardist Jay Smith, who mentors students weekly at the
Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, has assembled a monster group
of players for a special show up on the roof. Joining Smith is
Grammy nominated guitarist Andre Bush, whose
performing credits include stints with jazz heavyweights Nnenna
Freelon, Carl Allen, Andy Narell, Liz Story among others.
Also appearing will be Bakersfield bassist Jay Jay Hicks, and
drummer Jonathan Weinmann."
- Matt Munoz, Bakersfield Californian (Jul 07,