Napa Valley music lovers of all ages will be delighted that long-time Bay Area musician Philip Grady Smith has returned from Maui to stay. Philip and his band, The Gentlemen of Jazz, are available to perform at local venues and events, where people can hear his wide array of smooth vocals, cool blues, hot jazz, Dixieland, and standards from the Great American Songbook.
Phil’s impeccable credentials include mentoring by jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain in Phil’s youth. After studying at the University of Memphis on a music scholarship, Phil sharpened his clarinet, sax and flute skills at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. He has performed and recorded with such fellow greats as Aretha Franklin, Michael Bublé, Stevie Wonder, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Big Joe Turner—and the list goes on. Renowned San Francisco columnist Herb Caen ranked Phil’s clarinet skills on par with “licorice stick” greats Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.
Patrons of Napa’s Silverado Country Club and San Francisco’s Coconut Grove and Rose Pistola have danced to The Gentlemen of Jazz as long-term house bands. The band members include Tom Shader on bass, Ross Gualco playing keyboards, and Kendrick Freeman performing on drums.