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Steve Smith Pays Tribute to Baron Browne

Baron Browne, my beloved rhythm section partner, passed away early in the morning of September 2, 2021. Baron and I have played together since 1998, when he joined my band Vital Information. From the day I first played with him until now, he was my first-call bass player. We toured and recorded with Buddy’s Buddies, Jazz Legacy, and pianist Aydin Esen. We toured Europe with saxophonist Bill Evans, recorded for Andrea Bocelli; our final gig together was with Steps Ahead on November 15, 2019. Baron played on a total of twelve of my albums, my Hudson Music educational videos and myriad gigs including the Drum Fantasy Camp rhythm section and The Buddy Rich Big Band. You could say he was the bass player of my lifetime.

Baron’s creativity found an outlet on the Vital Information albums as I gave him free rein for his exceptional production and compositional ideas, which were influential to the overall sound of the group. As an improviser, he was of the highest level, and not just as a soloist. As a bass player he would develop new, and compositionally amazing, basslines night after night and inspire the entire group with his deep groove and creativity. Baron and I were close friends and enjoyed our time together on the road, both offstage and onstage. As a legacy, he now has instilled in me the awareness to cherish, in the moment, every band member and experience I have from this day forward. I certainly cherish him and will remember his face, his joy and basslines on every gig I play as I go on without his physical presence.

This video montage was produced by drummer and video editor Christian Grassart, as a loving tribute to Baron Browne who was loved by all who played with him and all who knew him.

Click here to read Baron Browne's obituary written by jazz writer Michael West.

Steve Smith on The Playful Musician Podcast

Check out this great podcast with Steve Smith!

Steve Smith: From The Practice Room

Steve has been distancing at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. But during this time, he has been creative and productive.

Steve has been posting videos as part of a series called "From The Practice Room." The series includes videos about brush playing, Indian konnakol, and much more. We will be updating this page with more and more videos from Steve's practice room. Make sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest!

You can see the entire "From The Practice Room" playlist on Steve's YouTube page.

From The Practice Room
InstaLessonZ: Part 1

Steve filmed a series for Zildjian that focused on hand technique using flam taps, eventually getting into flammed diddles & phrases of 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, & 9. Good for your chops and improv vocabulary.

Steve uses four version of matched gripo as described in his "Pathways of Motion" book (Hudson Music). Download the PDF, below!

Flams PDF

From The Practice Room:
A Drumset Application of Konnakol and South Indian Rhythms Pt. 1

Steve Smith teaches about South Indian rhythms and applies them to the drumset. Download two helpful PDFs, below, for a transcription of what Steve played in this video - and to learn about konnakol syllables, suggested stickings, and the form of the Korvai (rhythmic composition).

The Paul DeLong transcription PDF features the konnakol and drumset transcriptions used in the video, below. The Ram Swaminathan transcription PDF features more traditional spelling of the konnakol syllables, suggested stickings and the form of the korvai (rhythmic composition) is notated. This PDF is also based on Steve's video, below.

Paul DeLong Ram Swaminathan

From The Practice Room
Steve Smith and Tony Monaco: "Oleo"

Drummer Steve Smith and Hammond B3 master Tony Monaco are swinging hard on Sonny Rollins' "Oleo." This tune was recorded in each musician's home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From The Practice Room:
Brushes Lesson

Here's a quick lesson in brush playing! Make sure to check out the amazing Hudson Music DVD "The Art of Playing with Brushes," which features Steve, Billy Hart, Eddie Locke, Joe Morello, Charli Persip, Ben Riley, and Adam Nussbaum - plus bonus footage with Ed Thigpen and Louis Bellson!

From The Practice Room
A Conversation with Hudson Music featuring Steve Smith, Jeff Hamilton, and Adman Nussbaum

An insightful conversation and demonstrations of the art of brush playing! Hosted by Rob Wallis of Hudson Music.

Go here to see the entire series on Steve's YouTube channel!

Zildjian #Instalessonz Live

Steve is taking part in Zildjian's #Instalessonz Live on Facebook: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 3pm ET. Check it out on the Zildjian page! The video will be available here once it is complete.

Click the PDF link on the right to download a chart from the lesson!

Recent Videos!

Here are some recent videos from Steve Smith. Make sure to check out the YouTube page for tons of great content!

Smith vs. Smith

The beginning of this "drum battle" with myself was inspired by the album "Rich versus Roach." In my early teens, I'd listen to the album over and over and tried my best to play like Buddy and Max. As the drum battle starts, on the left side I'm playing in the intense, snare-drum-chops-oriented style of Buddy Rich. On the right side, I'm playing in the be-bop-melodic-lyrical style of Max Roach. As the duet progresses, I'm going for it on both sides and I end by playing some South Indian rhythmic compositions in unison. Having a drum battle/duet with myself was a fun way to conclude the Hudson Music "Drum Legacy: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" project. - Steve Smith

2020 Drumtek Clinic Footage

In this clinic video, I am “playing the room,” which means being aware of the size of the space and playing at an appropriate overall level to have the drums sound full - but not too loud for the listeners. I’m demonstrating a wide range of overall dynamics plus inner dynamics, touch, and tone.

- Steve Smith

Thanks to Drumtek Australia, Sonor Drums, Zildjian, Remo, Vic Firth, DW pedals, Hudson Music, Cympad International, and PureSound Percussion.
Tom Coster, Jan Hammer, Steve Smith, Frank Gambale: NAMM Show 1991

The group perfomrs "Caught in the Act" by Walter Afanasieff.

Click here to see more videos!

Journey Shows and Steve Smith Las Vegas Art Events!

Steve performed with Journey throughout the month of October at The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace! Additionally, Steve was at Carnavale Gallery at Caesar's on October 10, 17, and 24, discussing his new art collection through Scene Four!

Click here to learn more about Steve's art!

Steve Featured in VF Jams!

Steve is featured in the latest edition of VF Jams - music videos produced by Vic Firth that feature top drummers jamming with an incredible band!

In this edition, Steve performed the Vital Information tune "8 + 5," which was written by Steve, Baron Browne, and Vinny Valentino. This version was arranged by the great Robert "Sput" Searight. Check it out below!

Order NOW! Heart of The City from Vital Information NYC Edition!

Vital Information NYC Edition is back!

Steve Smith's band, whose lineage goes back more than 30 years, has released it's burning new album, "Heart of the City." It features 12 tunes performed by six amazing musicians: Baron Browne (bass and vocals), Mark Soskin (piano and Rhodes), Vinny Valentino (guitar), Andy Fusco (alto sax), and George Brooks (tenor and alto saxes).

Click here to order the CD directly from Steve! All copies are signed and will be shipped immediately!

Also available in the iTunes store!

Journey 2019 Tour Wrapup!

Steve and Journey played more than 60 shows all over the United States this summer! The band split most of its shows with Def Leppard, who put on an amazing show. Steve enjoyed seeing fans and also some old friends along the way!

Click here for all the latest news!

2021 LIVE Dates!

Sept. 21 - 25
Birdland NYC

Click here for all the info!