Help to get jazz percussion legend Warren Smith’s residency recordings released

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Self-effacing composer, educator, percussionist and music archivist Warren Smith has always taken a greater interest in advancing the artistry of other jazz musicians than he did in furthering his own jazz career. Not that his career is anything to sneeze at: since the 50s he’s worked with artists ranging from Max Roach, Gil Evans and Sam Rivers to Melvin Van Peebles, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin.

Smith’s own work as a leader is relatively sparse but well worth seeking out; his last one Old News Borrowed Blues was from 2009 (the following year came a reissue of the pithy Katrina aftermath statement New Orleans Suite credited to the Andrew Lamb Trio, but Smith’s impact is pervasive).

Both of these most recent releases, plus Smith’s 2007 offering Natural/Cultural Forces came from the Steven Walcott’s Engine Studios label, the fruits of Walcott’s effort to help make sure that the archivist Smith is properly archived himself. And the campaign goes on…

Smith has recently completed a six-night residency at NYC’s The Stone, recorded by Walcott. During this run, Smith played sets with William Parker/Ras Moshe, Bill Cole/Joe Daley and a tribute to Roach’s M’Boom percussion ensemble in which Smith was a key member. The YouTubes sprinkled throughout this post are culled from these recordings. The goal now is to get as much as this material released to the public, but first, the sideman who participated in this residency need to get compensated. This is where Smith and Walcott turn to jazz fans for help through this Indiegogo crowdfunding drive.

The magic number is a modest one, really, just $2,000, and as of this writing, $575 has already been pledged. But the campaign ends on March 15, so there’s not much time to spare. The $25 donors get a best-of compilation CD of the residency plus can choose one digital copy from four albums containing Smith’s past works with Engine, including that New Orleans Suite masterpiece I was telling you about above. It’s worth kicking in some bucks for that alone, and the higher tier contributors get even more recordings from the residency.

Click here for more information on the Warren Smith fund drive.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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