Though an avid record collector, college basketball fan, and coffee drinker, my life revolves around family and jazz music. My wife and I moved to New York City in 2004. I've spent much of the past 12 years in my favorite borough - Queens - walking our soulful dog Emma, eating amazing food, and of course growing as a musician. When not hanging in NYC, I am busy teaching online lessons, working as a clinician throughout the country, and playing gigs. 

Performances with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra at the Village Vanguard, Dick Oatts Quintet, Joe Magnarelli Trio, and Ben Markley Big Band featuring Greg Gisbert and Terell Stafford are recent highlights. My drumming has also supported artists including Randy Brecker, Rufus Reid, Gary Smulyan, Benny Green, and Rich Perry in venues such as The Blue Note, Birdland, Chicago Jazz Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival, Dizzy’s Club, and Jazz Showcase. No matter the venue or situation I strive to put the music first and make it swing.

I am passionate about jazz history and The View from the Back of the Band: The Life and Music of Mel Lewis my recently published book is evidence. Available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book through UNT Press the book is a refined model for biographical jazz research and focuses on legendary drummer Mel Lewis. It is a comprehensive resource for study, combining meticulous biographical information, a discography of each recording mentioned in the text, musical transcriptions and analyses, substantial use of original interviews, and never before published photographs and memoirs.

In addition to being a performer and author, I am a dedicated educator. My higher education teaching experience includes undergraduate and graduate level drum set, jazz history, music business, jazz pedagogy, rhythm section workshop, jazz ensembles, percussion ensemble, and orchestral percussion. Past appointments as a clinician and guest lecturer include the American Library in Paris, Eastern Washington University, University of Wyoming, Luther College, and University of Montana. I have a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Music in Jazz Arts from Manhattan School of Music, and a D.A. in Jazz Studies, with a secondary emphasis in Percussion Pedagogy, from the University of Northern Colorado. 

Extensive private study with me is available. For more information visit the Jazz Drumshed page and contact me at chrissmithjazzdrums@gmail.com

chrissmithjazzdrums@gmail.com.