Steven Elliott "Steve" Smith (Whitman, 21 agosto 1954) è un batterista statunitense.



Steve Smith's drumming, while always decidedly modern, can best be described as a style that embodies the history of U.S. music. His original love of rudimental parade drumming is evident in his intricate solos. Likewise, his command of jazz, from New Orleans music, swing, bebop, avant-garde to fusion, is applied with his powerful rock drumming sensibilities and allows him to push the boundaries of all styles to new heights. His musical focus is committed to the exploration of improvised music incorporating styles as diverse as Blues, Jazz, R&B, Funk, Cajun and South Indian Carnatic.

Smith began studying the drums at age nine, in 1963. After high school, Smith studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1972-76. There he received valuable instruction from such renowned teachers as Gary Chaffee and Alan Dawson.

In 1974 Smith's professional career began in full, at 19 years old, with his tenure in the Lin Biviano Big Band, which he toured and recorded with for the next two years. At that same time he also performed with bebopper Buddy DeFranco and was a member of free-jazz group The Fringe featuring George Garzone. In 1976, Smith began his association with jazz/fusion by joining violinist Jean-Luc Ponty's group and recording the 1977 landmark fusion album Enigmatic Ocean, which also featured guitarist Allan Holdsworth. It was while touring with rocker Ronnie Montrose a year later that Smith was asked to join the popular rock band Journey which brought his playing to the attention of a rock audience.

With Journey, Smith toured around the world and recorded numerous successful albums including the immensely popular Escape (Columbia 1981) and Frontiers (Columbia 1983), both of which garnered the band many Top 40 hits and worldwide sales of over 80 million albums. In 1985 Smith left Journey to pursue his original passion, jazz, and to continue his developing career as a session player. Over the past 30+ years, Smith has played on many hits with such diverse artists as Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey, Zucchero, Claudio Baglioni, Andrea Bocelli, Y&T, Dweezil Zappa, Ray Price, Corrado Rustici and Savage Garden.

Smith began leading his own fusion band Steve Smith and Vital Information while still a member of Journey, the group recorded their first album in 1983. Vital Information's release, Where We Come From, was voted Best Contemporary Jazz Recording Of 1998 by the Association For Independent Music. The band's 2007 Hudson Music release, Vitalization, has gathered critical acclaim around the world. The album features Steve's interest and abilities with rhythms from India including the South Indian rhythmic vocal art-form: Konnakol. Vital Information’s 2012 release, LIVE! One Great Night, is the first in a series of new recordings to be released to celebrate the group’s 30th Anniversary.

Smith has also maintained an extensive touring and recording career, appearing with many jazz luminaries such as Mike Mainieri's group Steps Ahead. This band, which included virtuosos such as Michael Brecker, Richard Bona and Mike Stern, was one of the most successful electric jazz groups and Smith contributed greatly to their tight, energetic sound for seven years (1986-1993 and again from 2005-present). Other high profile jazz touring and/or recording gigs that have filled the drummer's schedule include such artists as Ahmad Jamal, Michael Manring, Stanley Clarke, Randy Brecker, Zakir Hussain, George Brooks' Summit and the Buddy Rich Big Band, with whom he has performed in many tribute concerts to the late drumming idol. He also rejoined Journey in 1996 to record the reunion album Trial By Fire (Columbia 1996). Smith's calendar often includes many drum clinics in which he is able to display his phenomenal techniques and concepts to drumming students around the world.

Smith's explosive solos and intricate timekeeping served to gain him much acclaim from sources such as Modern Drummer magazine, whose readers recently voted him the #1 Fusion Drummer of 2012. He has been voted #1 “All-Around” Drummer five years in a row, in 2001 Modern Drummer magazine named Steve as one of the "Top 25 Drummer of All Time", in 2002 he was voted into the “Modern Drummer Hall of Fame” and in 2003 his Hudson Music DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique - History of the U.S. Beat was voted #1 Educational DVD of 2003. The 2008, 2009 and 2010 Drum! magazine readers poll voted Smith #1 Jazz Drummer, and in 2009 Drum! readers voted Steve Smith Drum Legacy - Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants the #1 educational DVD.

In 2005 Steve was invited to be first drumset artist to perform at Zakir Hussain’s annual concert in Mumbai, India called Homage to Abbaji, a concert dedicated to the memory of Zakir’s father and tabla guru, Allahrakha. In 2009 Steve played at Carnegie Hall in NYC with a special quartet version of Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Percussion that also featured “Vikku” Vinayakram and Giovanni Hidalgo.

In 2011 & 2012 Steve has been touring with the virtuosic jazz pianist Hiromi as a member of her “Trio Project” which also featured Anthony Jackson on bass.



  • Lin Biviano- L.A. Expression (singolo)


  • Jean-Luc PontyEnigmatic Ocean
  • Focus- Focus con Proby
  • Gil Goldstein- Pure As Rain


  • Journey- Evolution


  • Journey- Departure
  • Journey- Captured
  • Journey- Dream After Dream



  • Tom Coster- Ivory Expedition
  • Journey- Frontiers
  • Vital Information- Vital Information


  • Bryan AdamsReckless (Heaven)
  • Vital Information- Orion


  • Journey- Raised On Radio
  • Jeff BerlinChampion
  • T Lavitz- Storytime


  • Players- Players
  • Vital Information- Global Beat
  • Steps Ahead- Live In Tokyo 1986


  • Frank GambaleA Present For The Future
  • Joaquin Lievano- One Mind
  • Kit Walker- Dancing On The Edge Of The World


  • Tony MacAlpine - Edge of Insanity
  • Dweezil Zappa - My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama
  • Journey - Greatest Hits
  • Vital Information - Fiafiaga (Celebration)


  • Richie Kotzen- Richie Kotzen
  • Minoru Niihara- One
  • Neal Schon- Late Nite
  • Steps Ahead- NYC
  • Turtle Island String Quartet- Metropolis Windham Hill
  • Woodworks- One
  • Kit Walker- Fire In The Lake


  • Y&T- 10


  • Frank Gambale- Note Worker
  • The Storm- The Storm
  • Journey- The Ballade
  • Vital Information- Vitalive!
  • Mariah CareyEmotions


  • Jeff Watson- Lone Ranger
  • Steps Ahead- Yin Yang
  • Anton Verhagen- Not Afraid To Serenade
  • Vital information- Easier Done Than Said
  • Journey- Time 3


  • Carol Knauber- Now Youre Talkin
  • Matalex- Indian Summer
  • Zildjian- Drummers Tracks
  • Tom Coster- Lets Set The Record Straight


  • Michael Manring- Thonk
  • Malatesta- Malatesta
  • Buddy Rich Big Band- Burning For Buddy Vol. 1


  • Corrado Rustici - The Heartist
  • Jonathan Cain - Back to The Innocence
  • Shaw/Blades - Hallucination
  • Mel Graves - Emotions In Motion
  • Tazenda - Fortza Paris
  • Peter Horvath - Foreign Matter
  • Montreal Drum Fest - Interdependance
  • Neal Schon - Beyond The Thunder
  • Zucchero - Spirito Di Vino


  • Vital Information- Ray Of Hope
  • Zucchero- Greatest Hits
  • Francesco De GregoriPrendere E Lasciare
  • Journey- Trial By Fire


  • Neal Schon- Electric World
  • Jonathan Cain- Body Language
  • Elisa- Pipes & Flowers
  • Glassmaker- hey hey yeah...
  • Modern Rock- Vol. 1
  • Peter Welker- Para "Peachy"
  • Buddy Rich Big Band- Burning For Buddy Vol. 2


  • Vital Information- Where We Come From
  • Journey- Greatest Hits Live
  • Vital Information- Global Beat (5.1 DTS remix)
  • Smap- 012 Viva Amigos!
  • Scott Henderson/ Steve Smith/ Victor WootenVital Tech Tones
  • Frank Gambale/ Stu Hamm/ Steve Smith- Show Me What You Can Do
  • Larry Coryell/ Tom Coster/ Steve Smith- Cause and Effect
  • Stu Hamm- Merry Axemas (Sleigh Ride)
  • Stef Burns- Swamp Tea
  • Tina ArenaIn Deep (No Shame)


  • Claudio BaglioniViaggiatore Sulla Coda Del Tempo
  • Andre Bush- Invisible City
  • Jerry Goodman/ Steve Smith/ Howard Levy/ Oteil Burbridge- The Strangers Hand
  • Neil Zaza- Staring At The Sun
  • Michael Zilber- Two Coasts
  • Steve Smith & Buddy's Buddies- Steve Smith & Buddy's Buddies
  • Aydn Esen- Timescape
  • Peter Welker- Well Be Together Again
  • Savage GardenAffirmation


  • Steve Smith- Rhythmic Journey
  • Ray Price- Prisoner Of Love
  • Vital Information- Live Around The World
  • Scott Henderson/ Steve Smith/ Victor Wooten- VTT2
  • Lara FabianLara Fabia (You Are My Heart)
  • Peter Barshay- Pit Of Fashion
  • Frank Gambale/ Stu Hamm/ Steve Smith- The Light Beyond
  • Blusion- Fuse It Or Loose It
  • Vernon Black- Paradigm Shift
  • Stu Hamm- Outbound


  • Larry Coryell/ Steve Marcus/ Steve Smith/ Kai Eckhardt- Counts Jam Band
  • Vinnie Moore- Defying Gravity
  • Tony MacAlpine- Chromaticity
  • Vital Information- Show Em Where You Live
  • Journey- Essentials


  • Steve Smith/ Michael Zilber- Reimagined: Jazz Standards Vol. 1
  • Frank Gambale/ Stu Hamm/ Steve Smith- GHS3
  • Frankie Laine- Old Man Jazz


  • George Brooks' Summit- Summit Earth
  • Journey Charlie's Angels- Full Throttle Soundtrack
  • Steve Smith & Buddy's Buddies- Very Live at Ronnie Scott's, Set One
  • Steve Smith & Buddy's Buddies- Very Live at Ronnie Scott's, Set Two


  • Vital Information- Come On In
  • Steve Smith & Various Artists- Modern Drummer Presents "Drum Nation"
  • Andrea BocelliAndrea


  • Steve Smith, Dave Liebman, Aydn Esen & Anthony Jackson- Flashpoint
  • Journey- Live in Houston, 1981 (DVD/CD)
Questa pagina è stata modificata l'ultima volta il 17.09.2011 04:47:11



Today I play two main kits. On the west coast I have a maple Sonor SQ2 kit finished in Silky Oak with 8x7, 10x9, 12x11 rack toms and 14x14, 16x16 floor toms. The bass drum is 20x20. The side-snare is 12x5 and made of clear acrylic. My East Coast kit, (stored in New York), and my Europe kit, (stored at the Sonor factory in Germany), is my 30th Anniversary Signature kit which is made of 9 ply beech and finished in Birdseye Amber satin. The kit includes: 8x8, 10x8, 12x8 rack toms and 14x14 & 16x16 floor toms, a 20x16 bass drum and a 12x5 matching beech side-snare. With all of the kits I use my 5.5x14 Steve Smith Signature metal snare drum. 

Since 2009 I set up my toms with Remo Clear CS “Black Dot” heads on the top and bottom. This is the setup that I saw Tony Williams use and I’ve always loved that sound. With this setup I can have the toms tuned to warm, melodious tones, with a relatively short sustain. Before that I used Clear Ambassadors on the top and bottom of his toms. In both cases I had the bottom head tuned slightly higher than the top head.
For many years now I’ve has used a Clear Powerstroke 3 on the batter side of my bass drum and a white coated Powerstroke 3 on the resonant side. There is no hole in the front head and the only muffling is a felt strip on each side, placed about 3” down from the top of the drum. The tension of both BD heads is medium, just getting rid of the wrinkles. By using a front head with no hole, and no padding inside the drum, the drum is more responsive – and has a full sound – when played with a wide range of dynamics.
I set up all of my 14” snare drums with a Clear Ambassador, or Diplomat, on the snare side (bottom) and a Fyberskin 3 Diplomat on the top. The Fyberskin 3 Diplomat gives the snare drum a warm tone and is perfect for brush playing. On my 12” side snare I use a White Coated Ambassador on my wood drum and the Clear CS “Black Dot” head on my acrylic drum. With all of his snare drums I have the bottom head tuned tighter than the top.

My main ride cymbal is a prototype of the K Zildjian Renaissance, a 22” model designed by Zildjian’s Paul Francis and veteran jazz drummer Adam Nussbaum. The cymbal is thin with a nice “give,” plus clear stick definition with little build-up of overtones. My secondary ride, positioned to my left, is the 19” Armand  Zildjian “Beautiful Baby” ride that comes with three sizzles. A third ride that I place to the right of the main ride is a 22” K Zildjian Complex II. My other favorite ride that I occasionally use is a 22” Hi Bell Dry, which Zildjian no longer makes.
When I need more of a rock sound I use a 20” A Platinum Ping ride and for some music I use a 20” K Flat Top as an additional ride.
For both jazz and rock I prefer very thin 18” crash cymbals. I usually combines two of the following: the A Armand Zildian thin crash, A Custom Medium Thin Rezo crash and the K Custom Hybrid crash. For rock recording I use thin A Zildjian crashes.
I have two different Hi Hat setups. One is the 14” A Armand Zildjian Hi Hats, which are reminiscent of the Zildjian Hi Hats from the 60s. The other setup is a hybrid that I came up: a 14” A Mastersound bottom and a 14” K Custom Dark top.
Depending on the music, I have some other favorite cymbals that I may put up, a 22” A Swish Knocker or a 22” K Bounce ride.
Bass Drum Pedals

My main Bass Drum Pedal is the the DW 9000 Titanium double pedal, which was a limited production. I also use a double pedal setup that I put together after years of experimentation: Since the late 80s I've used the DW double pedal with the nylon straps and the light footboards. But I’ve made a custom adjustment which is I use the 5000 Delta Chain pedal with the heavy footboard as my left pedal. The added weight of the heavier footboard and the double chain helps to give the left pedal an easy “swing.”
With both versions of my double pedals I use the medium size DW felt beater and I have them lowered a bit so they swing smoother and I can play with a wide dynamic range. When the beaters are fully extended, it's harder from me to control them and play softly. I have the springs tensioned loosely, that way the pedal feels light and follows the motion of my foot very easily.

When Vic Firth suggested that I design a Steve Smith Signature stick I resisted the idea for a few months. I was extremely happy with the Vic Firth 5A model and couldn't conceive of improving it. When Vic wouldn't take no for an answer, I start to seriously think about a personal signature stick and decided that I wanted a stick based on the 5A, but with a new tip.
I always like the Elvin Jones and Jack DeJohnette sticks that I bought from the NYC Professional Drum Shop in the 1970s that had elongated tips. Vic made me a few different sticks with the elongated tip and I discovered immediately that I liked the balance better than the 5A. Suddenly the 5A felt heavy in the back and light in the front, and my Steve Smith Signature model felt well-balanced and just right. We tried Maple and Hickory and I felt that Hickory had the best overall feel. I've been very happy with the stick ever since. Even with all of my recent technical developments, the Steve Smith Signature stick still feels just right to me.
I also use my Vic Firth Tala Wands, which come in both Birch and Bamboo. In 2001 when I started playing with drummers from Indian I needed to find a to blend my sounds with the very low volume of the Indian drums. 

I tried some bundle products that were on the market and none of them felt good to play with. By adding a “foam core” to the center of the stick the feel and rebound improved immensely. I also adjusted the wrapping higher up toward the middle of the stick so it accommodated the balance point where I hold the stick. When I want to play light and fast I use the yellow Birch 12 model and when I want to groove at a low volume I use the purple Bamboo 11 model.

For most gigs I use a simple micing setup: 4 overheads and a bass drum mic. I use a Shure Beta 52 on the bass drum and four Shure KSM 137s as overheads. I use four overheads because my kit is rather spread out and with two overheads it may not cover the 16” floor tom and the 12” side snare. I position the mics so they are over the drums rather than over the cymbals. Occasionally I’ll use a Shure SM 57 on the main snare and when I use tom mics I like the Shure SM 98s.

Since 2010 I’ve incorporated a Korg Wavedrum into my setup. I find the instrument to be an inspiring addition to my sonic palette as it sparks many creative ideas and has many unique and usable sounds.

I use Puresound snares on all of my snare drums, they improve the sound of any snare drum. I carry a supply of Puresound snare wires when on tour and if I am using loan equipment I’ll put the Puresound snares on rental drums and it always helps the sound and feel. 
The Zoom Q3 HD has become an important tool for me. I’ve always enjoyed recording my gigs and practice sessions and with the Q3 I get excellent sound along with very good video. 

I do not endorse any case company as I use a variety of cases depending on my needs.
Final Thoughts

I've stayed with all of the companies that I started with because I only endorse the equipment that I truly play and believe is the best available. I've been fortunate to have a long career and develop good relationships with the people that work at all of these companies.