About

About

N  E  R  V  O  U  S     N  E  A  L     S  M  I  T  H

Davenport, Iowa


...the kind of sax player I like - big tone, relatively simple (in the good sense) melodic ideas, playing with the band and not just for (himself). 

‑ Bruce Iglauer, CEO Alligator Records


  • Began study of the tenor sax in 1972 as part of the Princeton, Illinois, school band program
  • Illinois All-State High School Jazz Band participant 1979-80, 1980-81
  • Studied music performance, music education and music journalism at Illinois State University from 1981-1985
  • Member of the top performing jazz band at Illinois State University, 1981-1985
  • Live performances with Dizzy Gillespie (1984), Bernard Allison (1988), Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, Jim Schwall, The Temptations, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Marvellettes, Alex Chilton & The Box Tops, Louie Bellson (in big bands and small groups), Buddy DeFranco, Clark Terry, Chuck Loeb, Garrett Morris of "Saturday Night Live", and featured as a soloist with Grammy-winning vocalist Debby Boone and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (2013) and with Terry Blackwood and The Imperials (2015). Professional engagements in West Hollywood, New Orleans, Key West (Margaritaville), Hong Kong, Mexico, Canada, France, Switzerland (Montreux Jazz Festival, 2003), and throughout the US. Recorded performance of "My Secret Life" (with Einstein’s Sister) featured on MTV's "Undressed". Original composition/performance "The Crossing Guard's Coffee Break" with The Kabalas featured in the independent film "Minimum Wage" and on the Fuel Network's "The Standard Snowboard Show".
  • A member of local bands Noble Spirit (heard on the CDs "Apollo on Fire" and "Monster Island"), The John Gere Trio (heard on the CDs "Snapshots in Time" and "On the Fly"), The Josh Duffee Orchestra (heard on the CDs "A Tribute to Jean Goldkette" and "Half a World Away"), The Manny Lopez Big Band and Combos, Riverrain (the house band of The River Music Experience) and The Metrolites (heard on the CDs "In Spy-Fi" and "For the People"). Featured on the Celebration Belle riverboats every summer between 1992 and 2008.
  • A member of the Queens-based film soundtrack ensemble Morricone Youth, with regular performances in Manhattan and Brooklyn in 2011.
  • Guest artist on recordings by Ellis Kell, Einstein’s Sister, Los Mocambos, Digital Groove Society, and Spatterdash.
  • Featured instrumentalist on commercial jingles for John Deere, Buysse Dodge, Casino Rock Island, Courtesy Car City, The Rock Island Arts and Entertainment District, Goods Furniture, Northwest Bank and Trust, The Argus & Dispatch, The House of Watch Bands (Detroit), Motorola, Methodist Medical Center (Peoria), Dahl Ford, The Mississippi Valley Fair, Dahl Ford, The Gentry Shop, Granite City, Mel Foster, and Paula Sands Live.
  • Charter member of the internationally recognized klez-punk quartet The Kabalas (heard on syndicated radio programs "Sound and Spirit" and "The Doctor Demento Show" as well as three CDs issued on the Dionysus label; "Martinis and Bagels", "The Eye of Zohar", and "Time Tunnel")
  • Engaged in private one-on-one jazz saxophone and college-level music theory instruction and music manuscript production since 1982, including employment as an undergraduate teaching assistant and music copyist at Illinois State University from 1982 to 1985.
  • Currently employed full-time as a private jazz saxophone instructor, jazz clinician, and freelance musician.

Recorded Discography

C-E Express - "Senior World" theme song and promotional video - 1987

C-E Express - "One Step Closer" theme song and promotional video for St. Jude's Hospital - 1988

Solo - "Everything I Do (Comes Undone Again)" commercially unreleased - August 1991

Byron Davis - "Byron Davis Sings" self‑released cassette tape - April 19, 1993

Noble Spirit - "Apollo on Fire" self-released CD and cassette - August 23, 1993

Digital Groove Society - "Keep My Eyes on You" (2 songs) - self-released CD - 1994

David Saelens - "All Facets" self-released CD

The Kabalas - "Martinis and Bagels" Leppotone LTCD‑004 - July 15, 1995

Various Artists - Dr. Demento episode 95-40 (1 song), On the Radio SHOW#95-40, released to radio only - September 30, 1995

Various Artists - "Run Run Rudolph: The OIL Christmas Compilation" (4 songs) Oil 01 - November 1995

Noble Spirit - "Monster Island" self-released CD - December 1995

Los Mocambos - "Los Mocambos" (1 song) self-released CD - June 1996

The Kabalas - "Martinis and Bagels" reissue Dionysus ID 123343 - October 15, 1996

The Kabalas - "Challahday Picture Disc" 7" vinyl Dionysus ID 74592 - November 12, 1996

John Gere - "Snapshots in Time" self-released CD - June 1997

The Kabalas - "The Eye of Zohar" Dionysus ID 123349 - September 23, 1997

Various Artists - "virtuallyalternative, January 98" (1 song) VA‑88 (promotional issue only) - January 1998

Various Artists - "Music Supervisor’s Best Friend" Dionysus IDPRO-01 (promotional issue only) - 1998

Various Artists - "Freshmaker 99" (1 song) Zark! 099‑2 - January 1999

Einstein's Sister - "Learning Curves" (1 song) Yummy Pop Tunes YPT 0003 - April 1999

Phyllis Wethington Band - "Let Loose!" (4 songs) Brass Sail PW0199 - June 1999

The Kabalas - "Time Tunnel" Dionysus ID 123379 - October 19, 1999

Various Artists - "A Taste of Quad‑City Music" (3 songs) SMEC 002 - Fall 1999

Spatterdash - "Truth Serum" (1 song) self-released CD - March 15, 2000

John Gere - "On the Flyself-released CD - October 2000

Ellis Kell - "Ellis Kell Band & Friends 2000" (1 song) self-released CD - October 2000

John O'Meara - "Dancin' on the River" self-released CD - April 2001

The Josh Duffee Orchestra - "A Tribute to Jean Goldkette & His Orchestra" Back In Time BITR001 - June 2003

Einstein’s Sister - "Made Easy for Everyone" (Japanese ‘Best of’) (1 song) Yummy Pop Tunes/Wizzard in Vin - July 29, 2003

Various Artists - "Greasy Kid Stuff 2: More Songs from Inside the Radio" Confidential 3007 - May 4, 2004

Various Artists - "Your Favorite Band" soundtrack self-released CD - August 2004

Don Kincaid - "Get on the Journey" self-released CD - Fall 2004

The Metrolites - "In Spy-Fi" Go Go Golem GGG 1001 - October 12, 2004

Various Artists - Oasis Pop, Volume 3 Oasis, (promotional issue only)  - Fall 2004

Kim Wiseman - "He’s Not That Farself-released CD - March 2005

The Josh Duffee Orchestra - "Half a World Away" Back In Time BITR002 - July 2005

Various Artists - "Mr. Snail's Halloween Party" (1 song) Snail Sounds SNA002 - October 2005

Various Artists - "I♥NY - 13 Песен Для Веселого Нового Года" (1 song) Music World Ltd. - 2005

The Metrolites - "Elliot Ness: An Untouchable Life" soundtrack self-released CD - February 2006

The Metrolites - "The Bride Wore Blood" soundtrack self-released CD - 2006

The Metrolites - "For the People" Go Go Golem GGG 1002 - August 29, 2006

Various Artists - Oasis Rock & Roots, Volume 6 Oasis, (promotional issue only)  - Fall 2006

Parish Festival - "Handshakes and Heartaches" (1 song) Future Appletree FATCD027 - November 2006

Solo - "Manhandle Suiteself-released CD - March 1, 2009

Vitor Cunha - "Connected by Dots" (1 song) Alta Frequencia (download) - March 11, 2009

Cactus Charlie & the Tin Star Band - "Seasons for Reasons" self-released CD - March 16, 2009

Billy D - "My Journey" (1 song) self-released download - September 8, 2009

Billy D - "The Impossible" (1 song) self-released download - July 7, 2011

Michael Blomme - "It Just Takes Time" self-released CD - 2012

James Culver & the Kuchina Jazz Collective - "Live at the Redstoneself-released CD - 2013

The Oliver Twists - "The Oliver Twists" (2 songs) Future Appletree digital download - October 16, 2014

Cactus Charlie & The Tin Star Band - "Menlo Park" self-released CD - January 20, 2015

Einstein's Sister - "Learning Curves" (commemorative vinyl re-issue, 1 song) Yummy Pop Tunes YPT 0003 LP - November 2017

Steve Couch - "Borderline Ugly" self-released CD - December 2017


Film and Television credits:

  • DueA Films’ "Bix: An Interpretation of a Legend" (1991, screen appearance)
  • "Minimum Wage", a 1999 film produced by 2-Car Garage Productions, directed by Brian Scott O’Malley. The Kabalas' song "The Crossing Guard's Coffee Break" was licensed for use in this film.
  • MTV's "Undressed" excerpted my soprano sax solo from Einstein Sister's song "My Secret Life" for use during closing credits on at least one episode.
  • "Elliot Ness: An Untouchable Life", produced by Max Collins. Performed on the title track and incidental music. Also performed on The Metrolites' "Old Fascist Gal" which appears on the soundtrack as a bonus track. Released on DVD in a collection entitled "Shades of Noir".
  • "The Standard Snowboard Show", produced for the Fuel TV network. The Kabalas' song "The Crossing Guard's Coffee Break" was licensed for use in episode 23 (winter 2006).

Selected Touring History

•1988, January and February: Bernard Allison & Backtalk, Canadian tour

•1988-90: Rockin’ Billy & the Rhythm Riot, regional gigs with intermittent nationwide touring, including Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Florida, and Mississippi.

•1995-1999: The Kabalas, local and regional gigs with intermittent touring, including Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas (South by Southwest convention, 1996), and California.

•2003, July: Central Illinois Jazz Orchestra, festival performances in Montreux, Switzerland (37th Montreux Jazz Festival, three performances), Brienz, Switzerland (Montreux Meets Brienz), Vienne, France (Jazz à Vienne) and Disneyland Resort Paris.

•2009-2010 and 2011-2013: Jazz musician aboard the M/S Celebrity Equinox, M/S Celebrity Eclipse, M/S Celebrity Silhouette (each during its inaugural season) as well as the RMS Queen Mary 2.