Home » Jazz Musicians » Jay Smith Group

Jay Smith Group

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 Bakersfield Californian and FACE Bakersfield, among others, he has been on several radio stations and TV stations including Bakersfield's Channels 17, 23, 29/58, Brighthouse Bakersfield on Demand and 107.1 FM KRAB as well as several times on Fresno's 90.7 KSFR to name a few. In 2010, two of his bands (the Modern Jazz Trio and Kelulu) were selected as Featured Artists on the Global Level on Reverbnation.com. He is a regularly featured artist and lead instructor at the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop.


Yamaha CP88 Hammond Sk188 ROLI Seaboard Rise 49 Korg MicroKorg


Album Review

Jay Smith Group: Too Many Notes

Read "Too Many Notes" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Based in Bakersfield, CA, keyboardist, composer Jay Smith's second album is titled Too Many Notes via comments by his fan base, alluding to his often blazing phraseology on the 88s. Nonetheless, Smith possesses an active mind as the program boasts a cornucopia of bop, jazz fusion, Latin jazz, rock, pulsating cadences and explosive flights of fancy. At times Smith executes flashy runs while toggling between acoustic and electric keys and props up the interest or listenability factor by alternating tempos ...

Album Review

Jay Smith Group: Unashamed Portrayal

Read "Unashamed Portrayal" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

California-based keyboardist Jay Smith's worldly musical views radiate mightily, as he borrows from the past and reformulates a refreshingly modern vibe, spanning jazz-fusion, blues-rock and more. He also injects panache into the proceedings and garners top-notch support, while fusing a coalition of memorable melodies with a rather ferocious improvisational element. The keyboardist incorporates a vastly entertaining subsystem with penetrating frameworks amid various climactically oriented rhythmical drivers. Smith is a catalyst and colorist, and weaves around blistering solo spots ...

Take Five With...

Take Five With Jay Smith

Read "Take Five With Jay Smith" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Meet Jay Smith:Jay Smith has performed with dozens of groups all over California, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain in a wide range of music, from bebop and gypsy jazz to Latin rock and funk. He has worked with groups and musicians as Kelulu, Mento Buru, The Fresno Philharmonic, David Baron Stevens, Andre Bush, Mike Dana, Velorio, Zambra, Patrick Contreras and, along with drummer Jonathan Martinez, founded The Modern Jazz Trio, which was featured in Bakotopia Magazine, the Bakersfield ...

Read more articles
“After about a dozen years in Bakersfield, most of that time spent in music, Smith has become one of the busiest 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 their 60s.” Steven Mayer, Bakersfield Californian (Dec 15, 2019) https://www.bakersfield.com/news/piano-prodigy-jay-smith-and-the-jay-smith-group-making-the-vision- real/article_1377148e-1c70-11ea-a926-33b246f2b91a.html

"If you thought jazz goes into hiding after the CSUB Jazz 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, 2011)

Read more

Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Advanced only


I have taught music for several organizations including Fresno Unified and Panama Buena Vista School Districts, Arts Council of Kern, Yamaha School of Music, & Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, and have taught for ten years privately, as well as publicly.

images courtesty of the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop

Lesson programs include:
Piano Performance
Piano Technique
Music Theory

Music Composition
Creating/Building a Group

My rates are very affordable and I am very competitive.
Jay Smith
[email protected]

Art Tatum
Weather Report
band / ensemble / orchestra



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Jay Smith Group


Too Many Tracks

Jay Smith Group


The Trio Showed Up

Jay Smith Group


Just Stop

Jay Smith Group


Too Many Notes

Self Produced


Unashamed Portrayal

Self Produced



From: Olivia
By Jay Smith Group

Smells Like Teen Spirit

From: The Trio Showed Up
By Jay Smith Group


From: Unashamed Portrayal
By Jay Smith Group


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.