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Meet Enoch Smith Jr.: "I'm a music lover first. My musical ability is just an extension of my love. Jazz, gospel, music for film/television, you name it and I can tell you a story about how I fell in love with it."
At the late age of 14 he began playing piano by ear at his church. This blossomed into a love affair that would prove lasting. By the age of 16, Enoch was determined to be a professional musician. With no formal piano instruction he auditioned and was accepted to the Berklee College of Music.
During his time at Berklee, Enoch was instructed by seasoned pianist Dean Earl (Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt). It was during these piano lessons that a certain foundation was laid. "If you don't have nuthin' to say, close your mouth!" E.J. had the privilege of playing regularly at Wally's Jazz Cafe, an esteemed right of passage for Boston area musicians.
The first Jazz album I bought was: Red Garland's Piano. His rendition of "Please Send Me Someone To Love" is the first song I ever transcribed....
How would you describe the state of jazz today? I think jazz is evolving in different directions simultaneously. You have guys that are intent on playing in the style of their heroes and cats that are pushing the envelope daily. I think both directions are great for jazz and music in general.
By Day: I'm a Legislative Aide for an Assemblywoman in New Jersey. I research topics in order to create bills that she may sign into law.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Lawyer.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.