Mike Smith Quartet
The sound of Chicago native and alto saxophonist Mike Smith has changed over his weekly engagement at Andy’s—which began a staggering 31 years ago, on Thursdays. Back then he was a devoted acolyte of the soulful Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (sometimes even performing with his trumpet-playing brother Nat Adderley), but over the years he’s shed bald influences and developed his own hard-swinging sound marked by fast gliding phrases, a gorgeously shimmering tone, and a deep melodic generosity—qualities that in part led him to be lead alto saxophonist in the orchestra behind both Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra Jr.
During his long Andy’s stint some of Chicago’s greatest players have served under his leadership including pianists Jodie Christian and Ron Perrillo, bassist Dennis Carroll, and drummers George Fludas, Joel Spencer, and Robert Shy. This afternoon he’s joined by his excellent working trio led by pianist Jordan Baskin with drummer Brian Ritter and bassist Jeff Hamann (a few of whom were still in diapers when Smith’s Andy’s engagement began). The group appears on last year’s terrific Live at Andy’s Volume 1, which respectfully and beautifully pays homage to the classic sound of Blue Note, including gems by Freddie Hubbard and Hank Mobley.