Derek Smith

Genres: Jazz Jazz
Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


Derek Geoffrey Smith, 17 August 1931, London, England, England. After starting to play piano as a tiny child, Smith quickly developed until he was playing professionally at the age of 14. He began playing jazz and in the early 50s worked with Kenny Graham, John Dankworth, Kenny Baker and other leading British bands. In the mid-50s he moved to New York where he was soon in demand as a session musician, playing in studio orchestras and on record dates. However, he also played jazz with Benny Goodman, Connie Kay and others. During the 60s, Smith’s career followed similar lines, mixing studio work with jazz, and towards the end of the decade he became a long-serving member of the Tonight show orchestra. In the 70s he again played with Goodman, touring overseas, and also worked with Scott Hamilton and in bands led by Nick Brignola, Arnett Cobb and others. As the 80s progressed Smith became steadily more active on the international jazz festival circuit, sometimes...

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by Derek Smith