Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z

Smith III, Tom (Thomas H.)

Smith III, Tom (Thomas H.), trombonist, bandleader, educator, author; b. Greenville, NC, 10 May 1957.

Throughout childhood his family relocated frequently, beginning with Boston, MA (1957), Greenville, NC (1959), Wake Forest, NC (1961), Greenville, NC (1962), Revere Beach, MA (1962), Weymouth, MA (1963), Arlington, MA (1963), Greenville, NC (1964), New Orleans, LA (1967), Greenville, NC (1968), Concord, NC (1971), and Greenville, NC (1972). While Smith attended college, his father Thomas Jr., (b. 1937), mother (born Julia Anne Tracy, 1936), sister (Kathy, b. 1958) and brother (Andy, b. 1962) relocated to Raleigh, NC (1976), and New Orleans LA (1977), before permanently settling in Oxford, NC during the latter months of 1978. Starting at age nine, Smith received trombone lessons from his father (a jazz musician/educator with classical training), and later taught himself flute and euphonium. He entered public school music programs and became a member of the North Carolina Governor's School Symphony Orchestra (1974), and the North Carolina All State Band (1970-75 ). He was briefly enrolled in the jazz studies program at the University of North Texas, before transferring to the University of Southern Mississippi in 1976, (BM in Music Education, 1979). While at USM, Smith performed in the university jazz program and held down pit jobs with a regional song and dance troupe and two circuses. In addition, he founded the USM International Association of Jazz Education chapter (the nation's largest in 1978), the Mississippi Educational Jazz Festival (1978), and served as President Pro Tem of the USM Student Government Association (1977-78). From 1979-82, he accepted teaching posts in Bay Saint Louis, MS and Fayetteville, NC, while performing as a sideman for numerous traveling shows and reviews in NC, Minnesota, Florida and Texas. These activities were interrupted in 1980 with studies and occasional performances with trumpeter Donald Byrd at North Carolina Central University. In 1982, he taught band in Wake County, NC, and estab lished the Party Jazz Agency, which booked jazz combos for concerts and social functions.

Smith was accepted into the North Carolina Artist-in-Residence Program in 1984, serving visiting artist residencies at Caldwell Community College, Lenoir, NC (1984-88) and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Salisbury, NC (1988-90). After receiving a Masters Degree in Music Education (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1990), he served a final residency at Blue Ridge Community College, Hendersonville, NC (1990-92). During this eight- year period, he established thirty-nine community/regional jazz ensembles and wind symphonies including the Unifour Big Band (Down Beat Musicfest USA winner 1987, seventh place, Down Beat Reader's Poll, 1988), seven regional jazz festivals, three jazz societies, and performed over one thousand solo jazz trombone concerts. From 1992-94, he worked as feasibility study coordinator for the Baron Ross Fine Arts Center (Hendersonville, NC), before assuming the jazz trombone chair with the Glenn Miller Orchestra (1994 Canadian To ur), and a stint as a bandmaster with Norwegian Cruise Lines (1995). After another teaching post in 1996 (Rockingham County, NC Public Schools), he was appointed Director of Instrumental Music at Pfeiffer University (Misenheimer, NC), in 1997.

In 2002, Mr. Smith was appointed a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and assigned to the Bucharest Academy of Music (Bucharest, Romania). Smith has received four IAJE Outstanding Service to Jazz Education Awards for his contributions to jazz research. Other awards include Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Who's Who in America and Who's Who Among America's Teachers. Smith has remained active as a jazz trombonist and bandleader (fifth place trombone, Down Beat Reader's Poll, 1988), having performed or toured with Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Eddie Daniels, Nicholas Payton and Herb Ellis, among others. In 1987, he married Sarah Ann Anderson (now Smith). The couple gave birth to a son (Matthew, b. 1989).

Recordings:
Unifour Big Band: First Steps (Tom Smith, producer, 1986), Roadwork (Tom Smith, producer, 1989); Gelb Swing Band: Too Darn Hot (1998); NCJRO: Duke Ellington, a Centennial Collection (1999), Benny Goodman, the Swing Collection (2000); Gelb Swing Band: Let's Face the Music and Dance (2001); Performed on and/or produced approximately twenty pop/rock/Contemporary Christian recordings with artists including: Band of Oz, the Showmen, Arthur Smith, David and the Giants and REM producer Don Dixon.

Radio and television broadcasts:
Hosted NC cable access television program Soundscapes, (1985-88, 1998-01), performed on PBS Broadcast Journey to Jazz (1999), and the PBS documentary Warzone (2002). He has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs including: National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Weekly Edition, Tech TV, and Discovery Channel Canada. 

Bibliography (selected): 
Works by Smith.
The Tahchee Chronicles, an Epic Journey Into Spirituality, (Triad, 2001).
The Lost Years of Charlie Ventura (IAJE Research Presentations Yearbook, 2002).      Remembering John Coffey (ITA Journal, Winter 2001).
Acoustic Technology for the Identification of Mystery Jazz Recordings, with Gary Westbrook (IAJE Research Presentations Yearbook 2001). (Spring 2001).
Three Book Reviews About the Life of Woody Herman, Annual Review of Jazz Studies 1997-98 (Scarecrow, 2000).
An Anecdotal Account of Bourbon Street and Related Jazz Venues 1976-80 (IAJE Research Presentations Yearbook, 2000).
Thematic Improvisation for the Beginning Improviser (North Carolina Music Educator, Spring, 1998).
An Investigation Into the Death of Frank Teschemacher (IAJE Research  Presentations Yearbook, 1998). 
Implementation of the Community Jazz Ensemble (North Carolina Music Educator, Fall, 1986).
Numerous other short and extended publications, reviews and biographical entries for (among others): ITA Journal, Baker's Dictionary of Musicians and Oxford's American National Biography.

Contact information:
thsmith@pfeiffer.edu

Back to Top