Perry Smith

Guitarist Perry Smith combines the tradition of Jazz with broad influences from contemporary music to create his signature style. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Smith is now based in Brooklyn where he leads his own groups and is a sideman for local and touring artists. Smith’s extensive performance resume includes notable venues and festivals such as the Blue Note Jazz Club (NYC & Tokyo), The Village Vanguard (NYC), Dizzy's Club @ Lincoln Center (NYC), Montreal Jazz Festival, Java Jazz Festival (Indonesia), Jazz a la Calle (Uruguay), Rochester Jazz Festival, Philippine International Jazz Festival, The Healdsburg Guitar Festival and Yoshi’s Jazz Club.  

In 2018 Smith released his third album as a leader “New Angel” on his own label Smith Tone Records. The project features 10 original compositions for his quintet featuring Jon Irabagon (sax), Glenn Zaleski (piano), Matt Aronoff (bass) and Allan Mednard (drums). The music expands on the traditions of jazz with a fresh approach to modern composing and improvising.

Smith is an active player in the greater New York jazz scene and hosts a weekly series in Brooklyn called The Nest Session. Every Wednesday he performs with a different group of NYC's finest jazz musicians. The Nest Session is generously supported by a grant from KeyedUp.org in conjunction with the Jazz Foundation of America.  

In addition to leading his own projects and working as a sideman, Smith is a founding member of the critically acclaimed New West Guitar Group. NWGG has been performing internationally for over 10 years and they are recognized as one of the premier guitar ensembles in the country. 

In 2005, Smith received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, where he studied guitar with jazz legend Joe Diorio. In 2011 he completed his Masters in Music at New York University studying with the great John Scofield. Smith was named the “Outstanding Graduate” for 2011 in the NYU Jazz Department.

 

"Whether skirting fusion or funk or busting with modern melody, Smith's compositional style, musical direction and fret boarding hit that sweet spot between classic and experimental, improvisational and fine-tuned melody."Denise Sullivan, DownBeat

"Smith has the ability to catch your ear from several directions with his improvisational technique and melodic phrasing. With good writing and excellent playing by this solid group, New Angel provides plenty for deep listening and enjoyment." - Geannine Read, All About Jazz

"He’s got a gentle and pastoral melodicism…a welcome to the ears” - George Harris, Jazz Weekly 

"Smith’s solo style is modern, but still steeped in the traditional jazz idiom. The most impressive aspect of Smith’s formidable technique is his ability to phrase and his use of breathes between those phrases." - Sylvannia Garutch, The Jazz World 

"Smith is the type of player that explores the specific possibilities offered by weaving in and out of the harmonic structure with his improvisations. Smith’s technique is vast, displaying adept skill at right hand picking and left hand legato phrasing." - Brice Boorman, Chalked Up Reviews

"When I saw the guitarist, I anticipated something subdued or mellow - not so! The first track started out that way, but then the drums brought another layer of energy and attention from me. Then the sax kicked in followed by that rich bass - and I was totally engaged. Then the presence of the piano grew larger and larger and I put everything else aside. Amazing!" - Jay Paul, WRUV-FM