Jonathan Smith first played guitar at 4 years old. After hearing saxophonists Eddie Harris and Robert Hutchens (who was playing in Mel Brown’s Jazz Quintet), he was soon hooked on jazz. In his early 20‘s he took up tenor saxophone, playing for a couple of years in a Portland jazz combo.
Smith has studied with many greats, including: Anthony Wilson, Dan Balmer, Bruce Forman, Ron Eschete, John Stowell, Mike Bloomfield, and Graham Dechter. He also fondly recalls a memorable impromptu lesson with the great Bucky Pizzarelli. Smith cites many influences and inspirations, but the primary ones are Charlie Parker, Robert Hutchens, Jimmy Heath, Christine Jensen, Ingrid Jensen, Benny Green, Randy Johnston, Dan Faehnle, and, Terry Haggerty.