Contemporary Pianist

Knick
Smith

Latest Album

Biogpraphy

Contemporary jazz pianist and composer has toured with Stanley Clarke, Stevie Wonder, Queen Latifah, Kenny Garrett, Kirk Whalum, George Duke, Roy Ayers and more.

In 1995, Nick appeared nightly on the Tonight Show featuring Jay Leno. After leaving the Tonight Show, Nick built a home studio and began recording. He has released three full length albums and a handful of radio singles.

PRECISE, FREE FLOWING, AND RHYTHMICALLY DIVERSE


“Knick” Smith (real name Nick) was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the ninth of ten children born to Betty and James Smith. When Nick was two, his mother thought she heard one of his older brothers playing piano. The older brother explained that it was Nick. The exact age he began playing is unknown, but at two, Nick was already playing complete songs. When he was four years old, his father took him to see the Duke Ellington Big Band perform. After the show, Nick pointed to a piano and precociously told Duke Ellington that he could play one of those. Mr. Ellington told him to keep practicing and one day Nick would be onstage too. At six, Nick began taking private lessons. Eventually, he was admitted to Cleveland Music School Settlement.



From the age of nine to sixteen, Nick and his brothers, known as Transformation, played at various Cleveland locales. After he reached sixteen, Nick formed his own band, Art Effect. He developed a following and played at several Cleveland clubs until he went to Boston to attend Berkelee College of Music, where he studied Jazz Composition.



Nick chose to be a Jazz Pianist because Jazz is a spiritual, versatile, and challenging art form. His playing style is precise, free flowing, and rhythmically diverse. Not only is Nick an outstanding Jazz performer, he can also play soul, funk, country and western, rock, and pop. He is a musician’s musician-believing that there are only two types of music, good music and bad music. He also believes that older musicians should reach out to younger musicians to promote their interest in the fundamentals of great music and provide guidance in increasing their skills.



Although Nick considers music a great source of enjoyment, he also acknowledges that music is a serious business. Nick has the firm conviction that one should always give their best. When he performs music, he gives his ALL. He considers Jazz a spiritual, versatile, and challenging art form. Some of the pianists that have influenced Nick are Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, McCoy Tyner, William ‘Red’ Garland, Wynton Kelly, Art Tatum, Kenny Kirkland, Billy Childs, Oscar Peterson, and Errol Garner.



Nick has toured with various artists, including Stanley Clarke, Stevie Wonder, Queen Latifah, Kenny Garrett, Kirk Whalum, George Duke, Roy Ayers, Brandy, Kenny Lattimore, Donald Byrd, Michel Polnareff, and Dianne Reeves. For almost ten years, Nick toured with Stanley Clarke and worked on the Showtime series Soul Food and several movie projects. Some of the movies include Higher Learning, Eddie, Sprung, Funny Valentine, and The Color of Friendship. Nick also worked with bassist Robert Hurst on the music for the motion picture, Brown Sugar. In 1995, Nick appeared nightly on the Tonight Show featuring Jay Leno. After leaving the Tonight Show, Nick built a home studio and began recording. He has released three full length albums and a handful of radio singles.

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