Mike Smith
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • United States
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What is your affiliation to the Jazz World?
Musical Artist, Clinician
Tell us a little about your background...
First of all, thank you for visiting Mike's page. All the music here are short samples of tracks he played percussion on w/various Artists. There are many photos to view and you can watch several videos seeing Mike "in action" as well, please enjoy. Also, check out his blog post for other news & events

Drive, passion, motivation, commitment, integrity, and pure talent are the forces behind Mike Smith, keep him going, and are reflected in his craft. He is a diverse percussionist who has studied many styles of music, as the saying goes: “From Bach to Rock”.

Born in New York City, Mike began playing congas at age 8 and drums at age 12. Mike is originally self-taught, eventually took private lessons, and began his formal education with music in Junior High School. He played with local bands and artists and began expanding into other percussion instruments. Timpani, marimba, vibraphone, orchestra bells, marching and concert snare and bass drum were just a few. Mike then attended and graduated from Erasmus Hall High School, Brooklyn, NY, which was known for its prestigious music program. Mike went on to the classical music program at Queens College, Flushing, NY and later transferred to Howard University, Washington, DC, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree.

Through a recommendation from a college professor, Mike played Carnegie Hall in the opera “Le Cid”, starring world-renowned opera singers Placido Domingo and Grace Bumbry. He was only 18 years old at the time.

During his tenure at Howard University Mike performed at a myriad of concert venues, theaters and clubs. He was part of the opening act for the electrifying Patti Labelle and worked with the great Lionel Hampton. Between school, performances and studio work, an audition presented itself, and soon Mike was touring Europe with the Broadway musical, “Raisin.”

After graduating from Howard, Mike’s hard work, persistence, talent and reputation began to pay off. His move back to New York yielded opportunities with the prolific Shelton Becton, The Manhattans vocal group, legendary bassist Reggie Workman and the renowned jazz drummer Charli Persip. Mike accepted requests to play jingles, TV telethons, and classical concerts. He even had a solo part in Verdi’s “Requiem”. During that time, he continued to develop his talent, studying Latin percussion with Ricardo Torres.

Mike eventually moved to Los Angeles, and planted himself in L.A.’s music scene. Mike began to study at the Billy Moore Studio of Percussion; soon after he was working with the Billy Moore Ensemble.

As his career escalated, Mike’s presence was felt on the music scene, and he has since toured the world and worked with: Alicia Keys (Demo Recording), Macy Gray, Gladys Knight, Patti Austin, Lalah Hathaway, Brian McKnight, James Ingram, Luther Vandross, Paul Jackson Jr., El Debarge, Jon B., Kirk Whalum, George Duke, Doc Powell, Kevin Toney, Phil Upchurch, Marc Antoine, Rick Braun, Justo Almario, Horace Silver, Jody Watley, Patrice Rushen, Sheila E., Marilyn McCoo, Phil Perry, Kenny Rankin, Trini Lopez, The Emotions, Helen Baylor and the list goes on and on.

Mike has performed at Disney Hall with the Southeast Symphony, an 86 piece orchestra, playing the music of George Gershwin and several times at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the opera, La Boheme, under the baton of the great Placido Domingo.

He has appeared in or recorded on the soundtracks of various films including “Remember The Titans,” “Disney’s Fantasia 2000,” “Inspector Gadget,” “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”, ” The Bodyguard,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Angie,” and “For The Boys.” Mike has recorded on numerous CD’s and performed on many TV shows as well.

It is said that true art has no form. Mike has proven time and again that he is a true artist, adapting and adorning musical forms, floating in and out of styles, yet never compromising his talents and abilities. He is an example that hard work, talent and persistence do pay off in the end.
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Mike's Slideshow

Mike Smith's Photos

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Mike Smith's Blog

Quotes About Mike

Posted on July 18, 2011 at 12:00am 0 Comments

My Upcoming and Past Concerts

Posted on January 15, 2010 at 9:30pm 2 Comments

More News

Posted on July 31, 2008 at 12:30pm 1 Comment

Comment Wall (1 comment)

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At 12:49am on September 4, 2010, Mike Smith said…
The gift of music surpasses all races, culture, religion & religious beliefs, gender, age, and nations of the world. It soothes, calms, comforts, heals, excites, makes u smile and unites. It has a positive effect on the mind, soul & spirit. Thank GOD for this beautiful & fulfilling gift.

So, we musicians must remember this when WE get in the way. Instead, quiet & humble yourself; bask in this great gift. Do not abuse it musically, spiritually or on the business side. Especially do not abuse or take advantage of others in business. Remember, this is a precious & fragile gift that touches the entire world. Be a good steward of it.


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