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Kevin Smith Kevin Smith

Although Kevin has always had an interest in music, he got a late start - not picking up the guitar until he was 16. He spent years working in a high- tech, clean room, semi-conductor factory, while working on a degree in Electrical Engineering but still managed to play a few gigs in rock and blues bands. Still, he eventually realized that he had to pursue his dream. At age 25, Kevin left his job and switched majors to study music.

On a scholarship, Kevin spent a few years studying music at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, OR (a suburb of Portland.) There, he studied guitar with John Weaver and took classes with the legendary Dave Barduhn. During this time he played in the award winning MHCC jazz band, playing The Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, The Mount Hood International Jazz Festival, and The International Assocaiation for Jazz Education conference in Chicago. Kevin also worked in local jazz bands, large and small, played in rock and blues bands (including the acclaimed Blues Foundry), playing in musicals (e.g., West Side Story) and began his teaching career, something that would become a life long passion. While in Portland, he also got a chance to study with local guitar favorite, Dan Balmer.

In 1997, Kevin eventually ran out of money and decided to go and get a musical education the old-fasioned way - by working. He started a three year stint working on cruise ships in the orchestra. This was a very formative experience and was an excellent chance to hone his skills while cruising the Caribbean. The orchestra was a chance to play many types of music, including jazz, rock, blues, country and Broadway. The ship also introduced him to the city of New Orleans.

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”[Kevin] plays with a sense of style and maturity that is rare to find in musicians twice his age. He's a real find.” - The New Orleans Music Revue; May, 2001

“...a talented jazz duo.” - Diablo Magazine; July, 2007 - “Best of the East Bay” issue, in reference to the Smith/Stern Jazz Duo

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