Steve Smith’s drumming, while decidedly modern, can best be described as a style that embodies the history of U.S. music. Steve is active as a band leader (Steve Smith and Vital Information) as a featured sideman (Mike Stern Group, Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Percussion, Steps Ahead, Hiromi-The Trio Project, Coltrane Revisited) and as an educator/clinician.
Steve Smith grew up in the Boston area and started playing drums at the age of nine in 1963. He studied music at the Berklee College of Music from 1972 to 1976 with Alan Dawson and Gary Chaffee as his private instructors. Over the past 45 years he has toured and recorded with some of the biggest names in jazz and rock – appearing on recordings that have sold over 100 million copies worldwide – including Journey, Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey, Zucchero and Jean-Luc Ponty. Other notable jazz artists Smith has played with include Buddy DeFranco, Benny Golson, Ahmad Jamal, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Bill Evans, Hiromi and Zakir Hussain.
Smith produced and played on a series of sixteen jazz albums for the Tone Center label featuring players such as Victor Wooten, Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale, Stu Hamm, Oteil Burbridge, Larry Coryell, Jerry Goodman, Howard Levy and Steve Marcus. His release The Best Of Steve Smith – The Tone Center Collection is a sample of some of his favorite tracks from those collaborations. Advertisement
Smith currently tours with his own all-star band Vital Information featuring Manuel Valera (keyboards) and Janek Gwizdala (bass). The latest Vital Information release is titled Heart Of The City. Vital Information will celebrate its 40th Anniversary in 2023. Wounded Bird Records is starting the celebration with the 2022 release of The Complete Columbia Recordings, a four CD set of the first four Vital Information albums. From 2016-2019 Steve Smith toured with the iconic rock band Journey, the group in which he recorded nine albums with massive hits. A highlight of that collaboration is documented on a 1 DVD/ 2 CD set titled Journey Live In Japan 2017 Escape & Frontiers. In 2017 Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Steve Smith was voted “#1 Fusion Drummer” in the 2012 Modern Drummer Readers Poll. Smith has previously been voted “#1 All-Around Drummer” in the Modern Drummer Magazine Readers Poll for five consecutive years from 1987-1991. In 2001 Steve was named by Modern Drummer Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Drummers of All Time.” In 2002, he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and in 2003 his Hudson Music DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique – History of the U.S. Beat was voted #1 Educational DVD.” In 2017 Steve topped an unprecedented three categories in the Modern Drummer poll: #1 Rock Drummer, #1 MVP and #1 Educational Product for his Hudson Music Book/Video Pathways Of Motion. In 2018 MD readers voted Smith #1 Classic Rock Drummer. In 2022 Modern Drummer Magazine published the book Steve Smith Legend as part of their Modern Drummer Legends series.The book includes all five of Steve’s MD cover stories, a new in-depth interview, exclusive photos and a download of Smith’s solo drumset recording, The Fabric Of Rhythm and much more.
Currently Smith exercises his teaching skills by giving clinics and workshops around the world and being part of the staff of Drum Fantasy Camp: www.drumfantasycamp.com