Jazz trumpeter Jumaane Smith, with band in tow, to bring sweet, funky jazz to Amp

Jumaane Smith performs his trumpet

Jumaane Smith’s bona fides run long — the jazz trumpeter, vocalist and composer has spent nearly two decades touring and recording with Michael Bublé as lead trumpeter, vocalist and featured soloist; has performed on five Grammy-winning records and two Emmy-nominated television specials; was a member of Harry Connick Jr.’s house band for the syndicated daytime TV show “Harry” and was the featured guest soloist for Jackie Evancho’s “Songs of the Silver Screen” world tour backed by a 60-piece symphony orchestra.

Smith has also toured widely on his own, with his own band, to venues like Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland Jazz Club, Vail Jazz Festival and the Catalina Island Jazz Festival.

And after his performance of blues, funk, jazz, shuffles, boogaloo and New Orleans-style street beats at 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater, that list of prominent venues will include Chautauqua Institution.

Throughout his career, Smith’s worked with nearly every musical legend in the business, from Quincy Jones to Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin to Alicia Keys, and Barbra Streisand to Jon Batiste. As a composer, Smith has scored music for films such as “Handsome Harry” (starring Steve Buscemi and Jamey Sheridan) and the documentary “Being in the World,” as well as for his own recordings and the interactive sheet music company Tomplay.

But before all of that, Smith was a boy learning how to play the trumpet.

“I found music when I was 9 and it became my best friend,” Smith told The Connecticut Post “It saved me.”

While studying on a full scholarship at the Juilliard School of Music’s Jazz Studies program, his primary trumpet teacher was none other than Wynton Marsalis.

“He’s still a great friend and mentor,” Smith told The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas (no familial relation). “I got to immerse myself in a situation where people were very dedicated to honing their craft. It taught me a lot about discipline and drive and focus.”

Smith’s third album is forthcoming this August from Zinn Music; his sophomore album, When You’re Smiling, was released in 2020. His debut, I Only Have Eyes for You, featured several role reversals with appearances from the musicians Smith himself has backed over the years. After working with people like Evancho and Bublé, Smith welcomed them as special guests on his own album.

“It’s very rare (Bublé will) do (recordings) as a sideman, so I was really fortunate he agreed to do it for me,” Smith told The Smith Center. “We recorded in the same room together, and it was a really cool, organic experience. That was an amazing thing to do.”

With his own band and own jazz melodies, Smith hopes his audiences feel the same passion, joy and hope in his music as he does.

“Hopefully (the audience) will feel how uplifting and inspiring it is for me,” he told The Smith Center, “and feel that for themselves, as well.”

Tags : Birdland Jazz ClubCatalina Island Jazz FestivalentertainmentHarry Connick Jr.’s house bandjazzJazz at Lincoln CenterJumaane SmithMichael BublémusicPopular EntertainmentThe ArtstrumpeterVail Jazz Festival

The author Sara Toth

Sara Toth is entering her fifth summer as editor of The Chautauquan Daily and works year-round in Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Education. Previously, she served four years as the Daily’s assistant and then managing editor. An alum of the Daily internship program, she is a native of Pittsburgh(ish), attended Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, and worked for nearly four years as a reporter in the Baltimore Sun Media Group. She lives in Jamestown with her husband, a photographer, and her Lilac, a cat.