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Mysterious Traveler - Wayne Smith Jr.

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The Free Library, the Producer's Guild and PJP are teaming up to present a daring, new performance series. Entitled,  Mysterious Travelers Concert Series, it will feature FREE monthly concerts running through April 2015. It will also showcase a diverse array of Jazz performers who are shaping the future sounds of Philadelphia. The upcoming concert is...


Monday, December 8, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

Central Library/Montgomery Auditorium

1901 Vine Street, 19103

Featuring: Wayne Smith Jr.

More Info About Concert Here

 

Nurtured in the legendary Philadelphia jazz scene, Wayne Smith Jr.’s career as a drummer is as promising as it is eclectic. He has performed everywhere from Philadelphia’s own Chris’ Jazz Café to the stages of Europe, Canada, and Australia. In addition to being a founding member of Three Blind Mice he recently formed the New York-based The Wayne Smith Quintet. The ambient influenced group marks his progression as he continues to merge his jazz fundamentals with his developing rock edge.


PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction?

Smith: My music is all about a groove. It’s about telling a story and having the audience feelit. I’m a drummer who collaborates with trombonist Brent White to write originals – that gives my music a unique sound and perspective. When people think about my tunes, I don’t want them to think of it as a particular genre or category of music. I want them to just think of it as good music.

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PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?


Smith: My parents, by far, are the greatest musical influence in my life. They are both musicians and teachers and they instilled in me at a young age a love for music. They surrounded me with music and through them I was exposed to live performances by some great musicians: Art Blakey, Billy Cobham, and many others.

My first pair of drum sticks were given to me by Philly Joe Jones and my mother convinced him to give me lessons. It was a great experience to learn to play drums at the hands of a legend. I’m blessed to have the guidance of my parents who have always encouraged me to push my creativity musically. They saw my potential at young age and I’m finally reaching that potential. I aspire to greatness because of them. I’m not great yet, but I’m getting there.


PJP: How do you manage the task of creating and encouraging fresh, new, forwarding moving musical ideas, while simultaneously exploring, celebrating and documenting the past?

Smith: I appreciate the music in the past, but what I write is meant to document what’s happening now. I write original music like everyone else, I’m just telling a different story. I’m telling my story. Some of my music explores what’s happening in the world. Some of it is more personal.

I like to explain myself through music.  I don’t even like talking during performances; I want my music to speak for itself. The audience can experience the same song in different ways and that’s okay. I want my music to touch people in any way possible. I like when people come up to me after a show and want to talk about the story behind a tune. The past is brought into my music through the audience’s experience, and I hope to give them a fresh, new way to interpret that.

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PJP: When listening to your music, what advice would you give to audiences to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?

Smith:
My favorite band is post-rock group Sigur Rós from Iceland. One thing I notice at their shows is that the audience it totally into the experience. The band is singing in a different language but people still connect with the music.

It’s the same for one of my shows. I want the audience to interpret the music for themselves and enjoy it. Music shouldn't be about sitting still. You should want to bop your head, snap your fingers, and stomp your feet. I want people to have a good time. When you come to my show, bring an open mind and an open heart. We’ll take it from there.


Monday, December 8, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

Central Library/Montgomery Auditorium

1901 Vine Street, 19103

Featuring: Wayne Smith Jr.

More Info About Concert Here

 


Philadelphia Jazz Project (PJP) works to inspire a network to support, promote, archive and celebrate the diverse elements within the Philadelphia jazz community, with the larger goal of connecting to the global community. PJP is a sponsored project of the Painted Bride Art Center, with funding provided by the Wyncote Foundation.
 
The Producer’s Guild’s mission is to ensure that the appreciation and enthusiasm for the rich cultural heritage of African American Arts continues to thrive in Philadelphia, especially Black Classical Music, commonly known as Jazz.

 

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If it hadn't been for him, there wouldn't have been none of us. I want to thank Mr. Louis Armstrong for my livelihood.
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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.