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#97 Andy Smith- Multi Percussionist, Drummer for the Batuque Trio & Faculty at UTEP

#97 Andy Smith- Multi Percussionist, Drummer for the Batuque Trio & Faculty at UTEP

This week’s guest is Andy P. Smith. Musician, Educator, and Composer, Andy Smith is recognized internationally, having enjoyed a diverse career for over two decades. His recent projects include CD recordings, Finally Here with Angel Roman and Mambo Blue, and Transparency featuring Latin Jazz group Batuquê Trio ( Andy’s recent compositions include: Vento no Ritmo (Wind in Rhythm) for flute trio with leg rattles commissioned by Deanna Hahn-Little; Fora da Caixa, an experimental graphic score for percussion trio; Two Maracatu for Drum-set Duo (a popular youtube video features Andy with drummer Marcus Finnie); and Brazilian Suite for Tambourines, premiered at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center. 2017 will include new works for 10-Can Percussion and Caixa Trio. 

The recently formed B-line Trio is an innovative jazz percussion trio featuring Andy with colleagues Brian Mueller and Brian McNulty. The trio performs clever arrangements of jazz, choro and popular music and specializes in residencies and percussion festivals where they present master classes together and separately in diverse “break-out” sessions.

Smith lives in El Paso, TX with his wife Amy Smith (Caixa Trio) and their children. There, he serves as Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. He recently earned a Doctorate in Percussion Performance and Pedagogy from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, IN where he served as an Associate Instructor and Assistant Director to Michael Spiro's Brazilian Percussion Ensemble.

Andy taught as Adjunct Percussion Instructor at Middle Tennessee State University from 1999-2008 and serves as the Percussion Instructor for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, a state sponsored program for elite college-bound musicians. His career has taken him from the recording studios of Nashville, TN to Tanglewood, Ravinia and the Hollywood Bowl. He has traveled to Ghana West Africa and the Caribbean to be immersed in African diasporic rhythm. In 2012, Andy was awarded a Tinker Foundation grant to study contemporary Brazilian Jazz drumming in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Other recent performances include the Jazz Education Network Convention, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Lotus Music Festival, and grant sponsored workshops with Bernard Woma, Musical Ambassador to Ghana.

Andy is published by Row-Loff Publications. Additionally, Andy self-publishes his works for solo percussion with electronics, percussion and other chamber ensembles and Latin-Jazz combo.


Damon will be playing in Europe with Morgan James and you can check out more dates HERE.

Marcos will be playing with Obie Bermudez at the City Winery in Washington DC on Nov 6th as well as in Boston on Nov 8th, and Nov 13th at the Loft at City Winery in NYC.

The iconic recording this week is called “Impeach the President” by Roy C and the Honey Drippers.

The (unbiased) political quiz Damon mentions is called ‘I Side With’ and it will help you figure out which candidate you align with so you can vote with your issues and not be swayed by political ads.

Here is one of the many election day playlists for when you’re standing in line waiting to cast your vote. Here’s another one put together by the ACLU.

Here is also a map of states that have same day registration, in the event you haven’t registered yet (what are you waiting for?……besides turning 18).

Voter Registration Map.png

Product review for this week…

Omni Charge: Omni Ultimate Charger. The Omni Ultimate provides a top-notch power output. Boasting a massive 150W DC output, 120W AC output, and 60W USB-C output. It has all the ports you’ll ever need, with an option for multiple battery packs and a USA and EU option. It also has pass through charging, meaning you can charge your devices as well as recharging the Omni Ultimate at the same time!

Music News for this week…..

There is a sale on the Latin Percussion Website on selected items. Extra 20% on select items Nov 1 – 21 on the only LP Website. Use the code: LPKIT20, when checking out. Aretha Franklin’s Detroit house is up for sale for $800k. 10 other great music cities to think about touring through or reclocating to that aren’t NYC, L.A., Nashville, Austin, or, Seattle. Spotify is testing an app for the Apple watch. If you have the 12.0 operating system on your phone, you have the shortcuts program and can enable a shortcut if you get pulled over. That app is called ‘Police’ and was developed on Reddit. It stops your music, dims the phone lights, activates the ‘do not disturb’ function, sends your current location to a designated contact and turns on your front facing camera. Afterward, it will send that video to the designated contact or a dropbox folder.

Andy is currently teaching at UTEP, The University of Texas, El Paso.

In talking Texas geography and Nashville, (friend of the show) Fausto Cuevas and (one of Andy’s mentors) Lalo Davila come up.

As a kid in Enfield, CT, Andy was a member of the KISS army. Other music that inspired Andy were Genesis, Paul Simon and Carly Simon (who both had Steve Gadd as a drummer).

Andy started his private lesson venture at Falcetti Music and then as he developed, he moved on to study with Frank Giguere. In high school, Andy credits Sam Macaluso of Enrico Fermi High School for helping to expand his musical palate with things like the Berklee College of Music, High School Jazz Band Competition.

Once Andy started college, he started at Berklee College of Music pursuing a drumset performance degree. He then transferred to Umass Amherst as a music education major, and was also a member of the marching band drumline.

Andy mentions Brian Tinkel, who is a percussion professor at Mars Hill University. Brian went to Umass with Andy, Damon and several other “friends of the show”. Two of Andy’s teaching inspirations are Thom Hannum and Colin McNutt. You can listen to what goes into their maintaining a great program year after year in THIS EPISODE HERE.

One of the programs offered at UTEP is a commercial music degree. One of the perks is they get to utilize the Star City Studios for some of what is involved in the course of study.

Be on the lookout for the WTPP (West Texas Percussion Podcast) hosted by Andy Smith.

After completing his undergrad, Andy got a masters degree from MTSU in Tennessee.

After completing his masters, and then spending time in and around Nashville as well as traveling abroad to study and learn more, Andy went to Indiana University at Bloomington and got his Doctorate degree. The percussion faculty he worked with were Steve Houghton, Michael Spiro, Kevin Bobo and John Tafoya.

The story of dynamics and other challenges that Andy tells, is when he was at Berklee and studying with Ian Froman.

Andy uses Innovative Percussion, Pearl Drums and Percussion as well as Adams Concert Percussion, Evans Drum Heads and Zildjian Cymbals.

You can follow Andy on his Website, Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram

Andy has a trio called the Bataque Trio and they have an album available called “Transparency

#98 Ed Choi- Principal Percussionist for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra!

#98 Ed Choi- Principal Percussionist for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra!

#96 Nick Angelis- Rudimental Snare Drum Champion, Blast! Faculty at the University of Cincinnati & More!

#96 Nick Angelis- Rudimental Snare Drum Champion, Blast! Faculty at the University of Cincinnati & More!