Wadada Leo Smith, the venerable trumpeter, composer, improviser, and bandleader who recently performed at National Sawdust alongside pianist Vijay Iyer, has just announced a new two-day celebration built around some of his most ambitious and profound works. The inaugural CREATE Festival is scheduled to take place on April 8 and 9, 2017, at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT.
About Steve Smith
I've been involved professionally in music and media for close to 30 years, and personally for perhaps a decade longer. Apart from a two-year sojourn in Boston, I've been based in or around New York City since June 1993. After a long string of roles and positions in mass media, I've recently taken up the role of director of publications at National Sawdust, a revolutionary young performing-arts venue and incubator in Wiliamsburg, Brooklyn. You can learn more about that venture at nationalsawdust.org.
My work email address, for press releases, pitches, potential contributions, and whatnot, is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prior to joining National Sawdust, I spent just over two years as an assistant arts editor at the Boston Globe, where I had the privilege of overseeing that esteemed newspaper's coverage of music and the visual arts. Before that, I served for 13 years as a music editor (first classical music, and then everything) for Time Out New York, and for seven years concurrently as a freelance classical-music reporter and reviewer for The New York Times.
While nearly all of my work is now focused on National Sawdust, I continue to contribute interviews and concert and CD reviews for RollingStone.com. My writing has appeared previously in the Washington Post, Village Voice, Billboard, Musical America, The Wire, Signal to Noise [RIP], Decibel, Jazziz, Jazz Times, Down Beat, Chamber Music, and Symphony magazines.
Before turning to journalism full time, I was a classical radio DJ in Houston, and then worked as a publicist at BMG Classics, the Knitting Factory, Third Floor Media (representing the Columbia Records jazz roster, the Village Vanguard, select projects on Blue Note Records, and more), and other NYC organizations. Artists with whom I worked directly include Tim Berne, Bobby Previte, Dave Douglas, and Ellery Eskelin.
I trained formally as a classical percussionist, and then put those skills to use with jazz and rock bands in Houston and New York. I graduated from Clear Creek High School in League City, TX, in 1984, and from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, in 1988. I'm married to Dr. Lara Pellegrinelli, an accomplished journalist, critic, and academic. Our daughter, Annina, is a budding singer, dancer, painter, and social-media superstar.
If you want to send something to me via snail mail, please drop me a line via email first to determine the best destination.
Entries by Steve Smith
Our friends at New Amsterdam Records have given us the opportunity to share a number of exclusive album previews in recent months. Today we’ve got something different to offer along with NewAm: our first video premiere, for the Molly Joyce composition Shapeshifter.
Luca D’Alberto, Nicole Mitchell, Matt Mitchell, The Necks, Merzbow, ‘Moana,’ and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.
Soper presents a variable treatise on art and its available meanings, one as clever and sly as it is erudite and provocative. But instantly, the musical conversation – and as often as not it’s exactly that, given Soper’s demands on her instrumental accomplices to verbalize, to engage in theatrics, to deliver lines outright – suggests some nuances she clearly intended, along with others she surely could not have foreseen entirely.
Let’s begin bold: There surely will be no student undertaking of an operatic or music-theater work more significant than the new production of Robert Ashley’s 1999 opera Dust that the College of Performing Arts at the New School unveiled on February 2 in the school’s Ernst C. Stiefel Concert Hall.
Listen to an exclusive preview of a gorgeous John Luther Adams piece included on ‘Thrive on Routine,’ the forthcoming album by New York’s much admired ensemble ACME on the consistently impressive audiophile label Sono Luminus.
Víkingur Ólafsson, Syrinx, Tanner Porter, Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School, Dana Jessen, and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.
In the hours and days after President Donald J. Trump announced an executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, including those with valid visas and residency permits, numerous stories circulated about soldiers, translators, teachers, scientists, and others who’d performed exceptional service on behalf of the U.S., yet suddenly couldn’t come back home. One such narrative that gained especially wide circulation, through an Associated Press article published on January 29, was that of Kinan Azmeh, a 40-year-old clarinetist and composer born in Damascus, Syria.
Exploring links between the visual arts and music is always a fascinating venture, and that’s certainly the case when examining the rich connections that brought together artists of myriad disciplines and persuasions in New York during the 1950s. This week, a new exhibition mining that fertile territory will open at the Hauser & Wirth gallery on the Upper East Side.
Kelly Moran, Nordic Affect, ACME, Morbid Angel, Linda Catlin Smith, and other stirring sounds playing lately at Night After Night HQ.