Richard Smith & Steve Trovato
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Richard Smith & Steve Trovato

Band Jazz Blues


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The best kept secret in music


"Guitar Player Magazine"

Steve Trovato-
The debut album by this amazing picker  (who is also a USC guitar instructor and an acclaimed studio player) is a stylistically diverse work that shows Trovato's total command of everything from blues to high-octane country to Gypsy jazz.  Affectionately know as the "Great Chameleon".  Trovato backs up the title by demonstrating just how damm good he is at, just about everything.  Trovato tips his hat to Danny Gatton on "D.G. Boogie" and tears into the Jimmy Bryant lane on the country -jazz ripper, "Squawkin".  He plays soulfully on the bluesy numbers.  Knock, Knock, Knock"  and "Drowning in My Own Tears," and goes deep into Django zone on the classic "Dark Eyes"  Trovato's ability to play so sensitively one moment (as on "Some Where Over the Rainbow") and so furiously the next ("Root Beer Rag") is simply astonishing.  What can you say?  A new superpicker has arrived! - Art Thompson


Richard Smith

Richard Smith is a guitarist, composer, producer, arranger and professor. Born in Detroit, but Richard Smith growing up in Oregon, he was inspired for greatness after seeing Al Di Meloa play at a "Return To Forever" concert when he was 14. Dedicating his life to the guitar he started playing in clubs while still in high school. At an early adult age he moved to Los Angeles, where he entered the USC Master Of Music program. While there, his instructor Joe Diorio got him together with pianist Billy Mitchell, who turned him onto a new world of the new and changing jazz scene. Smith hung out and worked with Russ Freeman, Max Bennett, Sam Riney, Tony Guerrero, Brian Bromberg, Jeff Kashiwa, and others. Kenny G and Dan Siegel helped Smith make a “demo” which led to his first recording contract. The first CD was awarded a nomination for “Record of the Year” in Japan. Within a year he joined Richard Elliot’s band and spent a lot of time on the road with guys like Peter White, Rick Braun, Marc Antoine, Warren Hill, Kirk Whalum and others. He recorded six number one disc’s with Elliot.

Smith has gone on to become a Music Professor at The Thornton School at USC. He has started the Guitar Masters program which provides free lessons, classes, guitars and mentoring to “at-risk” kids in South Central Los Angeles through the Challengers Boys and Girls Clubs.

I first met Smith in 1988 when he came with Elliot to Kansas City for a concert. The band was suppose to warm up for Dave Mason at a hard core rock club. Mason was a no show, but the crowd just went mad over the bands performance to the point that they had to perform a second set. Since that show Smith & I have talked quite a few times and get Bar B Q every time he comes to KC. We hooked up a few days before the release of SOuLIDIFIED.

JC: It has been a long time since we have seen anything from you. Where have you been and what have you been doing?

RS: I have been doing so many interesting things. I have been to Europe three times and actually wrote my new album SOuLIDIFIED over there. I kind of got some relationships with schools over there so I go over there and do a master class and a concert and so forth and then just hang. I lived in Bolognia for awhile and a little town on the Adriatic called Pescara and Rome. I was in the Saint Garmain district of Paris for awhile. It was a sabbatical. I got a year off from school so I went over there and bumed around, wrote music and played guitar.

JC: It has been four years since you put out an album. Even though you were bumming around is there any reason why you waited so long to record an album?

RS: It has been a wacky time in the music business and I just didn’t really want to put my foot in it for a little while. I have been very busy at school. I’m on a Fullbright committee at USC. I’m on the honorary degree committee and I’m the chair of my program. It’s so fascinating over there and it just takes a lot of time. I’ve also been doing a lot of sessions and things like that. Pushing another record out wasn’t at the top of my priority list.

JC: You love to write. You wrote all the songs on the new CD except one. Of course you love to play, so would playing come ahead of writing or vice versa?

RS: That is such a great question. It is one that I have thought about because my students asked me that. I’m surrounded by some of the great composers of all time. I’m on the faculty with Vince Mendoza and Morton "Skip" Lauridsen and these phenomenon composers who really are that profile of a composer, who are absorbed by the glory of the proposition and so forth. They are a different animal completely. So I have to look at my writing as a vehicle of my own expression and for playing the guitar on top of. I look at the stuff I write as having a harmonic and rhythmic components, the grooves and the beats and the sounds that I can best express myself. I really work hard on it. When I was over in Europe I wasn’t just bumming around, I mean I was because I wasn’t employed, but I would go back to my Pencione or my hotel and write and say “OK, what can I come up with?” I tried to write something every single day and this is just a distillation of two years of work like that.

JC: Talk about your writing process. What exactly do you do?

RS: Because I know so many musicians over in Europe, the first thing I did was said to those guys “what have you been listening to?” Some of the CD’s that I got to listen to and recorded while I was over there was so interesting and out of the American kind of mainstream. Really interesting stuff. I would punk them for their CD’s for a day or two. I would be listening to it and I would be sitting there with my guitar kind of just playing along with it. Then I would grab some stuff off of it that appealed to me. Research not plagery. Then I would work with that for a little while. I had a beat box with me and so forth. There is a certain amount of sweat rather tha - Jeff Charney

"LA Jazz Scene Magazine"

The University of Southern California (USC) Studio/Jazz Guitar Department has one of the first programs in guitar performance approved by the National Association of Schools of Music, with a faculty of distinguished performers and music educators. USC states "...more than ever in this highly competitive field, success depends upon artistry, professionalism, flexibility, and versatility.
The chairman of this prestigious program, Richard Smith, and faculity member Steve Trovato, demonstrated those qualities in a performance at Bean Town in Sierra Madre. This was one of a few appearances there as they prepared for a concert tour of Europe. Believe me, there was no "academic rust" these players had to work out. They played with an easy sophistication, each with very individual interpretations and approaches. Flexibility and versitility were ever present, with techniques used on occasion during some tunes that I had not seen used before by jazz guitarists. Playing "Spain' fingerstyle, Smith used uncommon right hand actions, including forward continuous finger rolls and alternating straight-finger picking for fast single note runs, commonly used with flamenco guitar. Both Smith and Trovato went wherever the evolving tune took them, wich at times touched the blues, rock, and pop music. Besides Chairmanship of the USC Guitar Program, Smith's specialty there is contemporary guitar jazz.

Trovato has been nicknamed "The Great Chameleon" because of his remarkable ability to move between jazz, blues, country, and rock. On "Caravan," he featured unusual content, some of which was reminiscent of the fast note Les Paul multiple recordings of years ago, though amazingly were just the two guitars on stage. Following "Stella By Starlight," Smith described Trovato's rendition of it as double-time with a rock style backbeat.
Smith and Trovato practice what they preach at USC, showing their artistry, professionalism, flexibility, and versatility. They opened up tunes, new and old, to fresh ideas and personal interpretation, getting across what they desired to convey. They were appreciative of audience response, and showed warmth and humor in conversation.
-Harvey Barkan - USC/Studio Jazz Guitar Dept. Faculty Show Their Stuff


Richard Smith "SOuLIDIFIED" A440 Music Group 2003
Richard Smith "Flow" Heads Up International, LTD. 1999
Richard Smith "First Kiss" Heads Up International, LTD. 1997
Richard Smith "From My Window" Brain Child Records 1994
Richard Smith "Bella Firenze" Tokuma Japan Corp.

About Time- 2002
Basic Blues Guitar
Essential Progressions
Patterns and Styles
Country Tips
Contempary Acoustic Guitar
Country Licks for Guitar
Country Solos for Guitar
Essential Rhythm Guitar


Feeling a bit camera shy


Richard Smith-
Richard Smith is a Full Professor and Chair of the
Studio/Jazz Guitar department at the renowned Thornton
School of Music at the University of Southern
California. His students are working with a diverse
array of artists from Maynard Fergusen, Ray Charles
and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, to Mark Anthony, the
Back Street Boys, Modonna and Run DMC.

His current solo album for the GRP/A440 Music Group
entitled 'SOuLIDIFIED' spent 17 weeks in the top 10
for radio airplay of American contemporary jazz radio
(Radio and Records Magazine) and 3 weeks at number 1
for satellite and cable airplay (Music Choice awards).
The album was produced by Brian Bromberg, and
features Alex Acuna, Jeff Lorber, Freddie Ravel, Jeff
Kashiwa, Brian Culbertson Bromberg and Snoop Dogg
drummer D-loq.

Please see for additional

Steve Trovato-
Steve Trovato is a world class multi – stylist guitarist. He has also internationally recognized as a premier educator of guitar and it’s stylistic possibilities. He has countless credits including twelve instructional guitar method books published by Warner Brothers and three instructional videos published by Hal Leonard. He is very active in the worldwide music community as a performer and as a clinician. Recently back from a Concert/Clinic tour of Italy where he was interviewed by all three Major Guitar Magazines. The interviews will appear in the upcoming months.
He holds a position as faculty in the University of Southern California Studio Guitar Department which rounds out his busy schedule.

The BUZZ on Richard & Steve-
"I left your clinic feeling very inspired about my future as a guitarist. I felt very happy, excited, and proud to be a musician. I woke up the next morning with an energized mind and spirit".
- Adam Harrell, Freshman at
The University of Miami

"Steve can play country, Steve can play jazz, Steve can play rock & roll, & Steve can play the blues. In fact he plays each style so well that you think that this is the only style of music that he plays. You think that this isn't fair that somebody can play all these styles so authentically and with the precision that which Trovato pulls it off" - Darren Scott, Tune-Up Magazine

" Richard is the leading educator and spokesperson for the instrument and its role in American culture."
- Bruce Forman, Guitar Virtuoso

"Richards love for his music shines brightly on this
CD, he is the best"
-Joe Diorio

"Yikes! Talk about your chops, Steve Trovato's got 'em. Known best on the West Coast as an instructor (Studio Jazz Guitar at USC) and for his work on movie and TV themes, Trovato can certainly play jazz But don't let the "J" word fool you; here he proves himself more than adept at pretty much anything you can think of"
- Jane Heidt, Vintage Guitar Magazine

"Richard represents what all guitarists
should aspire for in their careers.
His performances drop my jaw, his
body of knowledge from Bach to
Rock is completely mind-blowing,
his educational program is second to
none, and his songs and records are
crafted with intelligence, style, and
finesse. The guy has changed my life,
and if you spend the kind of time I
have spent with him, he'll change
yours too."
- Matt Baldoni, Guitarist w/Snoop Dog, Arrested Development Music Director- Fox TV, The NFL Show

"Smith’s performance is authoritative"
-Guitar Player Magazine

"What an exciting player, I predict Smith will become
one of the top guitarists of the decade"
- L.A. Jazz Scene

"Incredible guitar playing"
Pat Kelley - studio ace/artist, guitarist for David Benoit, George Benson

"Masterful musicianship"
- Dale Turner, West Coast Editor of Guitar One Magazine

"A beautifully played, beautifully produced album."
- Joe Beck, New York jazz and session legend

Italian Information-
Le strutture organizzative del mondo della
rivoluzione della pre-informazione sono state
distrutte. La rivoluzione dell’informazione promettere
di far sembrare la rivoluzione industriale minuscola
in paragone. Per l’industria musicale questo non e`
meno rivoluzionario dell’invenzione del fonografo e
della radio…
Dei trantacinquemila (35,000) albums distribuiti
dall’industria musicale, meno di cinquemila (5,000)
hanno venduto piu` di mille (1,000) copie.
Dal Mille e Novecento Ottantotto (1988) solo
sedici (16) hanno venduto piu` un Milione (1,000,000)
di copie negli Stati Uniti (U.S.) – cinque (5) dei
quali sono distribuiti da Victoria’s Secrets.
L’origine della maggioranza di ore di ascolto
musicale non e` dai CD e nemmeno dalle radio – ma da
video giochi.
La spesa mondiale per l’intrattenimento, la
stampa e la televisione raggiungera` nel Duemila e Sei
(2006) un Triliardo punto Quattro ($ 1.4) di Dollari.
Non e` meno rischioso "andare" per un’etichetta
indipendente del "firmare il contratto" adesso.
Internet sta cambiando dr