Born: December 2, 1956 Primary Instrument: Drum programming
E. Doctor Smith, inventor of the Drummstick, began his musical journey as a teenager playing percussion in the District of Columbia Youth Orchestra and in Maryland’s Montgomery County Youth Orchestra. Inspired by the Miles Davis fusion bands of the mid-70s, he continued his studies with Paul Sears, drummer of the Muffins. His first group, Oranus Rey, featured guitarist Paul Bollenback, bassist Ed Howard, and saxophonist Tim Chambers.
In 1980 Smith moved to New York where he met fellow Music Building tenants Madonna and her co-writer, Stephen Bray. With Bray, Smith performed in the Breakfast Club and The Same. The Same was produced by Brian Eno and featured keyboardist Carter Burwell, guitarist Chip Johannsen, singer Clodagh Simmons, bassist Stanley Adler, and the motto Semper Mutants.
Following Bray and Madonna to Los Angeles, Smith assisted on many of Madonna's biggest albums as well as other of Bray's projects including Nick Kamen, Gladys Knight, The Breakfast Club, Bryan Ferry, and Steel Pulse. In L.A. Doc’s sound engineering skills were honed in sessions working alongside Michael Verdick and Tony Shepperd. Back on the East Coast, Smith performed with the New England groups K2, Flash to Bangtime, and Feat of Clay using a Simmons kit he called the “Beast. Inspired by that of British drummer Bill Bruford, Smith’s 12-piece kit was the first embodiment of his love of digital drums.
In 1995, as a member of the trio Between The Lines, and influenced by the work of Roy Future Man Wooten, Smith designed and built the Drummstick, a percussion controller consisting rather humbly of a 2x6 piece of wood with 16 finger-pads. Borne of a desire to walk on stage, plug in and play like a guitarist, while accessing his beloved and virtually infinite world of digital sounds, Smith’s Drummstick developed a life of its own.
In 2000 Smith debuted his first CD of original music, The Drummstick, with his band of the same name, which featured core members Jack Wright on guitar, Neil Mezebish on horns, and Celia DuBose on bass. That year he also performed using the Drummstick with guitar legends including Bon Lozago of Gong, Tom Principato, Bill Kirchen, Paul Bollenback, as well as bansurist John Wubbenhorst, tabla master Sandip Burman, and the famed Howard Levy.
Now living in San Francisco, Smith performed at the Edgetone New Music Summit of 2006 with horn player Eric Dahlman. In March 2007, Smith will release a new Drummstick 2 CD, a long-distance collaboration with the original Drummstick band and other musical friends (and the re-release of his first Drummstick CD) on Edgetone Records.
Smith also produced and performed on an Edgetone release entitled Robert Anbian and UFQ: the Unidentified Flying Quartet. This timely and troubling work of jazz and poetry features poet Robert Anbian, saxophonist Charles Unger, keyboardist Sam Peoples, and bassist Mike Shea. Recently he has begun to collaborate with 7 string bass virtuoso Edo Castro and is preparing for his upcoming release on Edgetone Records, K2.
Particularly noteworthy was a drum solo by the Doctor that received extended applause...Smith's solo showed the versatility and range of his percussion instrument - a large block of wood wired to several key pads that allow him to reproduce almost any percussion sound. His performance of bell and cymbal sounds filled the room with a resounding sound reminiscent of a handbell choir. - Jerry Harris, Writer - Lexington Gazette
E. Doctor Smith and his MIDI-fied instrument... Howard Levy, Sandip Burman, Paul Bollenback, John Wubbenhorst... There's going to be some serious playing... - Eric Brace, Writer - Washington Post
Really cool stuff and well played! - Catfish Hodge, Guitarist-D.C. All Stars
Incredible... I really think it's incredible. Mitch LeMay, KFJC FM, Apartment Life
Man...It's digital and it's organic...It flows from you man... - Diamond Dave Whitaker, KPOO FM-Diamond Dave Show
Marvelous creation, wonderful instrument. - Helen Light, WXPN FM-Light Lunch
Pay close attention when you see the thing, it's really something special. - Cyndy Drue, WMMR FM-Morning Rock
I call the post-fusion, world beat jazz these guys play 'acid bop' - Robert Anbian, Poet - Writer
Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact email@example.com. Thank you.