Rudy Smith is a Trinidadian steelpan player from Port of Spain. Noted for his performances with many highly regarded jazz artist, Rudy has attracted attention as one of the brightest steelpan soloist in jazz. Mr. Smith has recorded and performed with artist such as George Cables, Tommy Flanagan, Horace Parlan, Bernie Senesky, Andrew Cyrille. Frank Morgan, Ed Thigpen, David Williams, Dom Um Ramao, Red Mitchell, Mats Winding, Belgium TV Big Band, Don Thompson and many others...
Rudy Smith perfected his unique style by studying jazz luminaries: Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Oscar Peterson and John Coltrane. Mr. Smith has toured internationally and has performed at some of the major clubs and jazz festivals in the USA, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean.
The Metro Word, Toronto
The hollow tones of a Steelpan might seem a major disadvantage for the warm note-bending playing required in jazz soloing, but with a delicate style of improvisation and careful attention to each song's structure, Smith has defied convention and emerged as a sought-after player.
I have been a secret fan of Rudy´s for many years - from the moment i first heard him, I've been raving about his incredible musicianship, his impeccable taste and soulful phrasing. He and Toots Thielemans, who both make you forget the insurmountable technical difficulties of their respective instruments, belong in my personal gallery of heroes with Louis, Duke, Bird, Stuff, Stan, Dizzy and a few that you probably never heard of.
I just think it´s marvelous album and Rudy is one of a kind. I have never heard a steel-drum player like him before in my life! I am very impressed with his compositions.
Mark Miller, The Globe and Mail, Toronto
It would be all too easy to make a fuss about the apparent novelty of the steel drum as a jazz instrument. The sound of the pan, after all, is the sound of calypso, not of bebop- or blues-note, at least, until Rudy Smith, a Trinidadian musician traveling out of Copenhagen, strikes the first notes of a hip tune like John Coltrane´s "Some Other Blues". Damned if it isn´t perfectly natural.
Krister Malm, Ph. D.,
Musicologist, Sweden Double alto pan player Rudy Smith has started a new phase in the story of pan. And not only in the story of the pan but in the story of Afro-American music. Rudy Smith has married the most important Afro-Caribbean invention in the field of musical instruments, the steel pan, to the most important Afro-American musical tradition, the jazz. And more than that. He has developed a solo style of the steel pan which has not been heard before. His technique is dazzling. But it is not a question of empty virtuosity. Rudy Smith´s playing is marked by the same astonishing inventiveness that has created the steel pan.
Thorbjoern Sjoegren, Berlingske Tidende, Denmark
It may perhaps be rather natural (and easy) to consider the use of steel-drums in jazz as something of curiosity, but the way in which Rudy Smith handles his two 50 cm-wide metal things it is not difficult for him to convince us of thier legitimate use in jazz.
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