Tuesday, April 13, 2021

RICHARD SMITH · LET'S ROLL Ft. JEFF KASHIWA

Chillharmonic Media
March 29, 2021


Last February, guitarist Richard Smith was in a battle for his life. Before the doctors and nurses administered the experimental infusions that he hoped would strangle the stage 3 cancer gripping his throat, his daily response to their inquiries asking if he was ready for the four-hour process that he went through for 45 consecutive days became an affirmation: “Let’s roll.” A year later and now cancer free, Smith is set to drop his first US single in 5 years, “Let’s Roll,” which he wrote with Billboard chart-topping guitarist Adam Hawley, who produced the uplifting track featuring saxophonist-flutist Jeff Kashiwa.

Shortly before Smith’s diagnosis, the former chair of the contemporary guitar department at the Thornton School of Music at USC’s former student, Hawley, sent a demo track of the single that goes for playlist adds on March 29 from Chillharmonic Media. “Let’s Roll” was to become Smith’s daily Mantra before infusions.

“The clinical trial drug I volunteered for was a daily 4 hours of intravenous infusion, as well as radiation and chemo therapy that drained my mojo to zombie levels every day. Fortunately, the drug is now in production and is a game changer” said Smith, who lost 40 pounds during treatment and has an 8 inch scar on his neck from the surgery.

“Let’s Roll” previews Smith’s forthcoming 13th album, “Language of the Soul” album, which he plans to drop in Fall 2021.

“The title comes from a piece written by great South American poet Pablo Neruda, who I discovered while on tour in Argentina. The new album is a lively collection of pieces that I recorded over the last two years while living in Finland, Italy, Greece, London and while isolated here in LA. I wanted to get back in my ‘LA lane’ and working with Adam (Hawley) helped me get back in the musical headspace to produce music for an American audience,” said Smith who remains a full professor at USC.

Smith’s “SOuLIDIFIED” (2003) album spent 17 weeks in the top 10 in terms of airplay and his 2015 set, “Tangos,” spent more than five months in the top 10 of the indie and contemporary jazz charts. As a featured sideman and collaborator, Smith has recorded or shared the stage with contemporary jazz royalty, including Richard Elliot, Peter White, Kenny G, Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, Eric Marienthal, Brian Bromberg, Warren Hill, Everette Harp and Dan Siegel. Opportunities over the last ten years to perform, compose and record with international artists and at universities aboard afforded Smith the opportunity to combine his two loves.

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