Listen to the Jonathan Smith Trio Brew Up Some Jazz

Don’t miss the Jonathan Smith Trio as they brew up some soul-jazz and boogaloo for your listening pleasure. The Jonathan Smith Trio is an excellent, well-organized Jazz band in the Portland, Oregon area. The band starts playing live at 4 PM April 9th, 2017 in downtown Gresham at the Hoppy Brewer.

Enjoy a pint in our taproom while this listening to live music this Sunday afternoon. Read Scott Yanow’s online review of the Jonathan Smith Trio below.

En Route
Jonathan Smith, an excellent straight ahead jazz guitarist, was born in San Francisco and has been part of the Portland jazz scene for the past decade.  En Route, which is named after a term used by firefighters (Smith’s earlier career), is his recording debut and an impressive effort.
For the project, Smith utilizes other Portland musicians including pianist-keyboardist Bo Ayars, tenor-saxophonist Sam Solano and drummer Matt Farina plus New York-based bassist Robert Stragnell. The music straddles the boundaries between hard bop and soul jazz, swinging at all tempos.
The repertoire and the playing in general remind one of a well organized jam session, with plenty of spontaneity yet concise solos. Smith plays in a style reminiscent of such major bop guitarists as Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow and Grant Green but without sounding like anyone but himself. His solos are meaningful, relate to the melodies and the rhythms, yet have their surprising moments.
The set starts off with some very likable and danceable soul jazz, a blues with a bridge (“Emily’s Dance”). Blue Mitchell’s “Fungii Mama” is typically joyful, Gene Ammons “Shuffle Twist” is a medium-tempo blues and “Bb Boogaloo” lives up to its title.

“Feel Like Makin’ Love” serves as a soulful change of pace, “On The Trail” utilizes a catchy arrangement and Ben Webster’s “Did You Call Her Today” features the band jamming on the chord changes of “In A Mellotone.” The other selections include Charlie Parker’s “My Little Suede Shoes,” the guitarist’s original minor-toned “Blues For Mandy” and “Senor Blues” which has Sam Solano’s best tenor solo of the set. The “bonus track,” “Georgia On My Mind,” finds guest vocalist Ollie McClay creating a colorful interpretation.

In addition to Jonathan Smith and Sam Solano, Bo Ayars proves to be a very valuable keyboardist, both as a soloist and as an accompanist. Robert Stragnell, who has a few spots, and Matt Farina are stimulating in support of the lead players.
This excellent effort by Jonathan Smith is easily recommended to fans of boppish and swinging jazz.


At The Hoppy Brewer, we love drinking a pint or more of craft beer or hard cider while listening to a live band. Come by our tap house to have a pint or fill a growler from our selection of 28 rotating taps.

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SRC: Click to read more Jonathan Smith Trio online reviews.