Michael-Louis Smith (b. September 13th, 1977)
Jazz guitarist and composer Michael-Louis Smith’s modern straight-ahead sound was influenced by many jazz greats, but is firmly rooted in originality. His unique style will draw upon almost any genre in an effort to explore and expand the possibilities of the music. Michael moved to the New York City area from the Capitol District in 1999 to attend the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College where he studied with of many of today’s jazz greats. Since earning a Masters in Music in 2005 Smith resides in NYC and continues to compose music for and tour regionally and nationally with the various ensembles he leads as a self-managed, independent artist (see below). The brand new album Portrait of MLS, due out in April 2010, features seven original compositions including the jazz/pop favorite “Up in the Air” performed by a who’s who of upcoming NYC jazz musicians Stacy Dillard on tenor and soprano saxophones, Theo Hill on piano, Gregg August on bass and Rudy Royston on drums.
Michael-Louis Smith Trio
MLS Trio is a place where more often than not new music is debuted and worked out. Due to the paired down set up the musicians can explore the music and really stretch out. Although audiences have enjoyed live performances of MLS Trio over the years, the first studio recording was done in 2009. The album, for now simply titled “ Trio 09’ ”, features MLS on guitar along with frequent collaborators Robinson Morse on bass and Steve Belvilus at the drums. The album consists of seven MLS original compositions in a myriad of styles including the West African inspired “Hi Life”, the down-tempo rock piece “Gone”, a be-bop rhythm changes ”Come Again” free-blues “The Freedom Zone”, the sad yet hopeful country/Americana piece “Promised Land” and more. To listen, visit www.myspace.com/michaellouissmithtrio .
Left Ear Trio
Out of the creative energies of both Boston and New York City, the Left Ear Triowas formed. Since their incarnation in 2002 they’ve been putting together their own twist on an age-old format – The Organ Trio. Although the group has firm roots in the tradition of the masters (Grant Green, Larry Young, Jimmy Smith to name just a few) they revel in many styles and their sound can sometimes be compared to the likes of Jazz/Funk outfits Soulive or Medeski Martin and Wood. You can also expect to hear Afro-Beat, Hi Life, break beat rhythms, country/americana or reggae influences as the Left Ear Trio pushes to develop the undiscovered sound that defines them. All of these elements combined with the exploration that comes with original compositions drenched in improvisation can lead the listener on excursions anywhere, attracting the attention of any audience, both dancers and listeners alike. www.lefteartrio.com
Hot House, a collaborative group led by Michael-Louis Smith was formed in 1999 and was originally conceived as a piano trio featuring Michael on guitar, Andy Carballiera on piano and Diallo House on bass has been considered to be one of the hottest regional touring jazz acts in the Greater NY/New England area. In 2001 Andy moved to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music, found his voice playing Hammond organ and formed a new group with Michael, the Left Ear Trio. Remaining members Michael-Louis Smith and Diallo House came to reside in NYC and added members Stacy Dillard on saxophone and Ismail Lawal on drums. This modern straight-ahead jazz ensemble has toured extensively performing at clubs and festivals throughout the Northeast and has recorded three albums of original music together. “Hot House Quartet"(2002), “Live Bait”(2003) both of which were recorded at Northern Tracks Studio, and “ALIVE!” a live album recorded at the Round Lake Jazz Festival in Upstate NY, which they headlined in 2004. www.hothousejazzgroup.com
Hot House Quartet (2002) - Hot House
Live Bait (2003) - Hot House
Alive! (2004) - Hot House
Michael-Louis Smith Quartet (2005) - MLS Quartet
That's A Nice (2006) Joe Sucato / MLS duo
Dream (2007) - Left Ear Trio
Live at The Shrine (2008) - Left Ear Trio
MLS Trio 09’ (2009) - MLS Trio
Portrait of MLS (2010) - MLS Quintet