Nathan Parker Smith
A native of Northern California, Nathan Parker Smith is an active performer and composer currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. In 2009, he formed the "Nathan Parker Smith Large Ensemble," an eighteen-member ensemble regularly performing original music throughout New York, including recent performances shows at Fat Cat, Spike Hill, Cameo, the Tea Lounge, Shapeshifter Lab, and the Greene Space at WNYC.
The group’s live shows have been noted for their unapologetically aggressive and engaging style, heavily informed by European heavy metal, 20th century classical composition and progressive rock. Smith's Debut Album Not Dark Yet was recorded in Brooklyn, NY by Luke Moellman (Great Good Fine OK), and Grammy-Award winning engineer Brian Losch (Maria Schneider, Winter Morning Walks). The album features Kevin Russell, Chris Shade, Michael Thomas, Justin Flynn and Alden Banta (woodwinds), Augie Haas, David Smith, Josh Deutsch and Matt Holman (trumpets), Matthew McDonald, Nick Finzer, JC Sanford, James Rogers (trombones), Landon Knoblock (Rhodes), Kenji Shinagawa (guitar), Russ Flynn (bass), and Jared Schonig (drums).
Nathan Parker Smith: Not Dark Yet
Smith's compositions are devised, both formally and conceptually, to rely heavily on collective group improvisation and to avoid many of the techniques that have become the status-quo approach for modern big-band writing. The Ensemble conjures images of both disturbance and intensity, while simultaneously providing an undercurrent of ephemeral optimism, evoking the subtle comfort that the world has not yet gone dark. Often pushed to their limits, the musicians collectively thrash and roar through Smith’s compositions, the soloists soar over powerfully churning distortion ladened ostinatos, ever-changing mixed meters, feedback squeals and anthemic melodies. A powerful, compelling debut from a serious new composer on the Brooklyn/NYC scene.
Smith has received the Billy Joel Scholarship for Composition, the Raymond and Maxine Schirmer Prize in Jazz Composition, the 2010 ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composers Award, the 2010 BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Composition Prize, the 2011 Manny Albam Commission, and special recognition by the Jazz Advisory Committee of the New York Youth Symphony for exceptional accomplishment in music composition. Smith’s compositions have been performed by ensembles throughout the United States, including the Eastman Jazz Ensemble, the Eastman Studio Orchestra, the Shrine Jazz Club Big Band, the University of Reno Jazz Lab Band, the Reno Jazz Ensemble, Saxology, the BMI New York Jazz Ensemble, the Humboldt State University Jazz Orchestra, the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire Jazz Ensemble, and the University of Connecticut Jazz Ensemble. His music has also been featured at the Vancouver Jazz Festival and the Rochester International Jazz Festival.
“Don’t let the eighteen-member size of this jazz band scare you. This isn’t Grandpa’s big band, nor your Dad’s. Nor necessarily anybody else who’s into big band jazz. The Nathan Parker Smith Large Ensemble is for the rest of us.” S. Victory Aaron, Something Else Reviews.
"One of the most improbable, impractical bands I have ever seen, I think that’s great." John Schaefer, WNYC Soundcheck.
“...[a] muscular, bracingly intricate new disc…” Time Out New York.
“...[a] band that just about blows down the house... This is blockbuster, even bruising, music with little respite on the program; such vigorous music might scare some folks away, [I] can’t wait to hear this ensemble live.” Richard B. Kamins, Step Tempest.
“...[a] seriously aggressive large ensemble… Music that speaks loudly and carries a big stick, too.” Dave Sumner, Wondering Sound.
Kevin Russell, Chris Shade, Michael Thomas, Justin Flynn, Alden Banta - woodwinds
Augie Haas, David Smith, Josh Deutsch, Matt Holman - trumpets
Matthew McDonald, Nick Finzer, JC Sanford, James Rogers - trombones
Landon Knoblock - rhodes
Kenji Shinagawa - guitar
Russ Flynn - bass
Jared Schonig - drums