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Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith first played guitar at 4 years old. After hearing saxophonists Eddie Harris and Robert Hutchens (who was playing in Mel Brown’s Jazz Quintet), he was soon hooked on jazz. In his early 20‘s he took up tenor saxophone, playing for a couple of years in a Portland jazz combo.

Smith has studied with many greats, including: Anthony Wilson, Dan Balmer, Bruce Forman, Ron Eschete, John Stowell, Mike Bloomfield, and Graham Dechter. He also fondly recalls a memorable impromptu lesson with the great Bucky Pizzarelli. Smith cites many influences and inspirations, but the primary ones are Charlie Parker, Robert Hutchens, Jimmy Heath, Christine Jensen, Ingrid Jensen, Benny Green, Randy Johnston, Dan Faehnle, and, Terry Haggerty.

His nickname, “Chief,” comes from his 30-year career in firefighting where he recently retired from a Portland area fire department. While building his musical repertoire he has played in various Portland area venues such as Brasserie Montmartre, Living Room Theaters, Pioneer Square, Tony Starlight’s, Dy’s Broadway Supper Club, The Globe, Terrace Kitchen, Vintner’s Cellar, The Blue Room, West Cafe, Shirley’s Tippy Canoe, and the Afrique Bistro. Smith feels privileged to have created music with many truly great musicians. Among them are Javon Jackson, Alan Jones, Randy Porter, Mike Horsfall, Marcus Reynolds, Clay Giberson, Mark Simon, Joe Millward, Phil Goldberg, Laura Cunard, Craig Bidondo, Ollie McClay, George Mitchell, Gordon Lee, Hank Hirsh, Kevin McCarthy, Scot Ranney, Nelda Swiggett, Karin Carson, Patrick Harry, Dave Speranza, Sam Hirsh, and Clif Swiggett.

Among his many friends and acquaintances in the jazz community, Smith selected several of his favorites for his first recorded compact disc: Jonathan Smith Quintet - en route - including veteran pianist/composer/arranger Bo Ayars, saxophonist Sam Solano, bass player Robert Stragnell, vocalist Ollie McClay; and Matt Farina, on drums.


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"Solid debut recording...straight-up, straight-ahead jazz..." —All About Jazz


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

En Route

Self Produced



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