All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Take Five With...

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Take Five With Daniel Ian Smith

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Meet Daniel Ian Smith: Daniel Ian Smith is a saxophonist/flutist and an Associate Professor at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he has taught for the past fifteen years. Daniel has had the privilege to perform in Japan, England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Canada, and throughout the United States in major jazz festivals and venues including: Carnegie Hall, Newport Jazz Festival, The Pit Inn, Schlot, Ottawa International, JAZZUV in Mexico, Visiones, and many others.

Leader of the New World Jazz Composers Octet, the Big and Phat Jazz Orchestra, Daniel Ian Smith and a Collective Directive, artistic director of Jazz in the Sanctuary, independent jazz label Big and Phat Jazz Productions. I am currently a member of the Mark Walker's Rhythm of the America's octet, the Pablo Ablanedo Octet (fresh sound recording artist), Sergio Brandao and Manga Rosa, Fernando Brandao's Bohemia Carioca. Featured on over 20 recordings and am a guest artist and guest director/lecturer at the International JAZZUV Festival in Xalapa, Mexico. I currently endorse Alexander Superial Reeds.



Teachers and/or influences?

Major teachers have included Jimmy Giuffre, Lee Konitz, Steve Brown, George Garzone, Steven Mauk, Pamela Gearhart, Charlie Banacos, and Hal Crook. The music of Joe Henderson, Duke Ellington, Karel Husa, Chico Buarque, John Coltrane, Thad Jones, Joyce Moreno, Ernesto Lecuona, and so many others that have touched and inspired me beyond words.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I always had an interest and love for all things musical. When it was time for college I had a choice between playing music and playing football, (quite a disparate choice!). But, I really knew that music was it when I heard one of my most influential teachers, Pamela Gearhart, pick up a student's violin to demonstrate a passage during an orchestra rehearsal and it moved me to tears. I knew then how beautiful and vital music was and how much I wanted it to be a part of my life.

Your sound and approach to music:

A difficult question. Given the situation I mentioned above, I think making a sound with presence, personality and integrity is an essential ingredient in any player's sound. Think of all the greatest players, most people can identify the greatest players within a few notes. Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, Lester Young, Isaac Stern, Vladimir Horowitz, Marshall Royal, Woody Shaw, Kenny Garrett, Steve Lacy. I could on and on. It's about personality. Music and life are parallels in my opinion. There is no art form that comes closer to imitating life than music. It's about honesty, integrity, community. I hope that is where my sound and approaches come from.

Your teaching approach:

I guess my approach or philosophy is about striking the balance between pedagogy and inspiration. This is a difficult endeavor at times. It's imperative to deal with basic musical elements and be clear in the delivery of that tacit information (Eb Major, II-V7-I, melodic development, three different fingerings for altissimo G on tenor, two of which don't work on alto! etc). A student needs to walk away from a class or lesson with information in hand. At the same time, we are all on a journey in our short lifetimes and I feel strongly that my role is also to shed light on the aesthetic and the importance of the journey itself. Inspire students to open doors they hadn't considered or have turned away from. I like to call music the "Tangible Intangible." It has elements that must be mastered but it also has a magic that must not be forgotten or taken for granted.

Your dream band:

My dream band. I like too many different genres and ensemble sizes to identify one but will try. Ideal "jazz quintet" would be: Steve Kuhn (piano), Scott LaFaro (bass), Roy Haynes (drums), Clark Terry (trumpet), myself (saxophones). I would love to work with Kenny Barron, he and Steve K are my two favorite contemporary piano players. Also, with Steve Swallow and Carla Bley's Big Band. I would love to play lead alto or baritone in the Vanguard band sometime. I'm a Brazilian music fan and would love to play with Joyce Moreno if Teco Cardoso needed a vacation! Maybe Hermeto Pascoal will put a big band together again and will call.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Smokin' Hot Bassoon Blues

Smokin' Hot Bassoon...

Summit Records


Breaking News

SomArts Cultural Center



Big and Phat


Related Articles

Read Take Five with Mark Haskins Take Five With...
Take Five with Mark Haskins
by Mark Haskins
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Take Five with Tarek Yamani Take Five With...
Take Five with Tarek Yamani
by Tarek Yamani
Published: April 12, 2018
Read Take Five With the Anansi Trio Take Five With...
Take Five With the Anansi Trio
by Mark Merella
Published: March 7, 2018
Read Take Five with Myriam Phiro Take Five With...
Take Five with Myriam Phiro
by Myriam Phiro
Published: March 2, 2018
Read Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga Take Five With...
Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga
by Tat Yoshinaga
Published: February 28, 2018
Read Take Five with Chris Abelen Take Five With...
Take Five with Chris Abelen
by Chris Abelen
Published: February 13, 2018
Read "Take Five with Myriam Phiro" Take Five With... Take Five with Myriam Phiro
by Myriam Phiro
Published: March 2, 2018
Read "Take Five with Dave Potter" Take Five With... Take Five with Dave Potter
by David Potter
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Take Five with Hayley Lam" Take Five With... Take Five with Hayley Lam
by Hayley Lam
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Take Five with Vincent Eury" Take Five With... Take Five with Vincent Eury
by Vincent Eury
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Take Five with Andrew Kushnir" Take Five With... Take Five with Andrew Kushnir
by Andrew Kushnir
Published: February 11, 2018
Read "Take Five with Ralph Hepola" Take Five With... Take Five with Ralph Hepola
by Ralph Hepola
Published: August 28, 2017