Sunday, June 24, 3pm
at The Art Center
Tickets available online, at The Art Center over the phone (970-243-7337 x.2) or in person, in advance or at the door.
Join us for an afternoon of jazz music with Walt Smith & Friends. Walt Smith on piano, Mark Gray on bass, and Rob Labig on drums.
Some of Walt’s standard songs are “Girl from Ipanema”, “Fly Me to the Moon”, “Smile”, “It’s a Wonderful World”, “Cheek to Cheek”, “Embraceable You”, “The Very Thought of You”, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “What is This Thing Called Love”, “S’Wonderful”, “Unforgettable”, and “Moonlight in Vermont”, to name a few.
The charismatic Walt Smith is a classically trained pianist who turned to jazz and swing in his college days. Hundreds of couples have fallen in love to the strains of Walt’s piano music in smoky bars and elegant restaurants throughout the West. Walt began playing at age eight and is a legend in the entertainment scene from Denver to Grand Junction and throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. After graduating from college, Walt played in the Denver area until moving to Aspen. He joined Freddie “Schnickle Fritz” Fisher (who came out of retirement) for several years playing the Hotel Jerome, Red Onion & Aspen Highlands “Freddie Fisher Room” as well as appearing with Freddie on Dave Garroway’s show. After returning to Denver, he formed a duo with Paul Black and opened Walt Disney’s Celebrity Lounge. He then returned to Aspen to play once again with Freddie Fisher and formed a trio to play the “Tippler” at the Copper Kettle with Bert Dahlander (the well known Swedish drummer) for over ten years. The “Tippler” was one of the most successful rooms in the whole ski industry but too soon, changed owners and became a Disco and Walt moved to Grand Junction, CO. During this period, he took time off to write the entire musical score for Leon Uris’ Broadway production of “Ari” (the Exodus story). It included 19 outstanding, beautiful melodies. Even though “Ari” did not reach the Broadway Hit List, Walt is currently arranging the music and play to a format for small theater groups and college productions.
While in Grand Junction, he opened the new Grand Junction Roadway Inn, the new Hilton and the new Airport Lounge operated by Grand Met. Then played for two years for the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. During that time he wrote the themes for a television special (for PBS) called “The Duke in Bronze” concerning the creation of the John Wayne statue by Harry Jackson. He performed for two years at the Grand Champion’s Club in Aspen, and since then has appeared regularly in Vail at “SweetBasil” and “L’Ostello”.
Walt has appeared in private jazz parties and concerts with artists such as Art Van Damme, Carl Fontana, Phil Urso, Harry Allen, & Plas Johnson, and at the Telluride Jazz Festival. No Benefit or Charity ball is complete without Walt’s music. He has appeared as guest soloist with the Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Centennial Concert Band. He opened the new Ritz Carlton in Aspen and played there for two years.
For over 30 years, fans have reserved Tuesday nights for their weekly Basie, Ellington, Porter, Gershwin, etc. “fix”, at the Sopris Restaurant which closed last year and recently Buffalo Valley Restaurant.
Whether it’s a small cocktail party requiring “piano only” or a major event needing a “dance band”……..the smiling Mr. Smith will just say……..”sure, let’s do it!”