J. B. Smith Music



First Reflections

Original Music for Percussion

J.B. Smith presents a CD of original music for percussion. Colors and rhythms of pitched and unpitched percussion instruments are combined to create a variety of musical compositions. Active as a concert artist and composer for over 30 years, Smith offers the first recording of works that have been performed on concert stages throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Featured are performances by the composer, Robert Spring-clarinet, Jessica Karraker-voice, and the Arizona State University Percussion Ensemble.

Track List
1. Slap Shift
2. Choice
3. It's Destiny...Gasp!
4. Ringing Webs of Metal Threads
5. Trio Passacaglia
6. Concertante Diversion
7. Boundary Waters
8. Conga Mix
9. First Reflection
10-11. In Light of Three

CD: $9.95 plus shipping


Apparitions for Percussion

Music for Solo Percussion

Solo works for percussion prepared by J. B. Smith for midwest United States university tour in 1998. Included is Akira Ifukube's Lauda Concertate for Marimba and Orchestra arranged by Dr. Smith for marimba and laptop accompaniment, Stomping the Ground by Todd Winkler for TrapKat and computer, Joseph Schwantner's Velocities for Solo Marimba and the first recording of Daniel Lentz's The Apparitions of JB for Solo Percussion and Multiple Digital Ghosts.

Track List
Joseph Schwantner: Velocities (moto perpetuo) for Solo Marimba
2. Daniel Lentz: The Apparitions of J. B.
3. Akira Ifukube: Lauda Concertata for Orchestra and Marimba
4-6. Todd Winkler: Stomping the Ground for Midi Percussion and Computer

CD: $9.95 plus shipping

At the Desert's Edge

Robert Spring, clarinet and J. B. Smith, percussion

At the Desert's Edge features concert music for clarinet and percussion performed by Robert Spring and J. B. Smith. Spring and Smith have been performing together since 1989. They have performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia including featured engagements at multiple International Clarinet Association conventions and the Music Educators National Conference. Their CD "At the Desert's Edge" features music from their concert tours including works written for them by Glenn Hackbarth and Norbert Goddaer.

Track List
1. Libby Larsen: Corker
2-4. Robert Schietroma: Dialogue for Clarinet and Marimba-Vibe
5-6. Ed Miller: Going Home
7. Chester Mais: Prelude and Licks
8. Glenn Hackbarth: Points in the Sky
9-12. Norbert Goddaer: Sonata for Clarinet and Percussion
13-14. J. B. Smith: In Light of Three
15. Dave Brubeck: Blue Rondo a la Turk

CD: $9.95 plus shipping


Solo Percussion 2011

Material from a 2006 east coast recital tour has been assembled into a Tresona Multimedia EP.

Track List
1. Carl Vine: Percussion Concerto (1987)
2. J. B. Smith: Coping Strategy II: Redundant Accumulation (2005)
3. Edmund J. Campion: Losing Touch (1994/1997)
4. Daniel Lentz: You Can't See the Forest . . . Music (1971)

Percussion Concerto was commissioned by, and is dedicated to, Graeme Leak who gave its first performance at the University of Western Australia in September 1987. The solo part is designed to highlight the virtuosic dexterity required for performance on multiple percussion instruments as well as to demonstrate most of the sonorities available to a solo percussionist.

Coping Strategy II is written for solo marimba and fixed electronic sounds. Using the additive process of canon and multi-track recording technology, four distinct layers of musical lines are gradually assembled:bass accompaniment, melody, sustained chords and a single, continuous melismatic line. After the structure is fully realized the rhythmic voices are subjected to deconstructive processes and melded into the sustaining chords. In the end, metric punctuation evaporates into a cloud of harmony.

Losing Touch for amplified vibraphone and fixed electronic sounds was written while the composer was taking a computer music course at IRCAM in Paris in 1994. It was an expansion of what he had done before, crossing the fruits of improvisation and formalized composition.

You Can't See the Forest . . . Music employs the composer's "cascading echo" technique with speaker-drinker who plays a wine glass that is tuned by drinking from it as the piece unfolds, reconstructing disassembled adages. The piece consists of multiple cycles each of which are recorded and played back.  In each cycle the players articulate small word particles (or phoneme) while simultaneously striking the wine-filled crystal glasses.  Over the course of the performance the word particles combine to create common phrases and the gradually rising pitches produced by the glasses create microtonal melodic lines.

EP and individual tracks are available for purchase through
Tresona Multimedia

LIVE Chamber Music with Percussion

I’ve had the profound pleasure of collaborating with some extraordinary colleagues in the School of Music at Arizona State University. Recordings of several performances of chamber music presented on campus have been assembled for a Tresona Multimedia EP.

Track List
1. Alejandro Vinao: Tumblers (Katie McLin-violin)
2. Theresa Martin: Zero Infinity (Sam Pilafian-tuba)
3. Glenn Hackbarth: Passage (Robert Hamilton-piano)
4. Anthony Garcia: Soul'd Out (Sam Pilafian-tuba)
5. J. B. Smith: Coping Strategy I (Katie McLin-violin, Robert Spring-clarinet, Andrew Campbell-piano, Sam Pilfian-tuba)

In Tumblers, a rhythmic phrase presented at the beginning of the piece is heard throughout in different forms, edited, repeated, shifted and multiplied like a cell of a growing structure. The players, like tumblers, unfold the shifting rhythms in the vertigo of a pulse which changes with every step. Tumblers was written for the marimba-violin duo Marimolin.

Zero and infinity represent powerful adversaries at either end of the realm of numbers that we use in modern science. Yet, zero and infinity are two sides of the same coin --equal and opposite, yin and yang...Zero Infinity is divided into three sections. Sections one and three are equals in that they both contain rhythmic drive. Second two, however, is the complete opposite of this, being very slow and lyrical. At times, the piece explores the extreme ranges of the tuba, many times stretching the technical limits of conventional tuba writing. The percussion part intensifies the rhythmic energy throughout the piece.

Passage is structured in two large sections separated by a minimal electronic interlude. The first section presents a toccata-like fabric in which thematic modules are juxtaposed in a manner loosely resembling a rondo. The second part gradually establishes a relaxed, floating ostinato over which thematic material from the first section reappears transformed in content and placed into continually changing contexts.

Anthony Paul Garcia, at the time a student composer at Arizona State, wrote Soul’d Out for Sam Pilafian and J. B. Smith in 2007. From the outset, an intricate rhythmic connection is made between the tuba and percussion instruments. Utilizing a large collection of instruments, the percussion part shifts continually from rhythmic, melodic and harmonic functions while the tuba traverses a sprawling landscape of colors and lines.

A group of five musicians can display characteristics resembling a single entity, a cross section of society or a chaotic amalgam of diverse creatures. In Coping Strategy I, activities ensue which can be described in all three modes: 1) A repeating seven bar chord progression, representing the life pulse of a single organism, is infected by a contrasting chromatic motive which eventually engulfs the chords. The infection is repelled, but returns to lead a dance of death, 2) Five individuals gradually interrupt a monotonous dialogue with disturbed interjections of dissonance, withdraw, then resume destruction of the monotony, 3) 5 instruments, all widely different in nature, choose idiomatic means to disrupt community of a musical status quo.

EP and individual tracks are available for purchase through
Tresona Multimedia
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