Mike Smith - Big Band drummer
Big band, jazz and session drummer
Mike Smith has been a sought after teacher of drums for over 30 years. A former Professor at Trinity College of Music, he established their Drum Kit Studies course. He mentors many aspiring professionals and has a particular expertise and interest in working with children and young people.
He started playing Drums at the age of 9. At 13 he started attending rehearsals for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and at the age of 15 became their regular drummer. He stayed with the NYJO for 5 years, during that time he worked with many great soloists and singers from the UK and the USA such as John Dankworth, Cleo Lane, John Williams (the guitarist), Shorty Rogers to name but a few.
In 1987 Mike became the youngest full time member of the BBC Big Band and BBC Radio Orchestra. He remained with the BBC until 1997 and during that time he had the great honour of working with some world class composers/arrangers, soloists and singers; most notably, Robert Farnon, Angela Morley, Ronnie Hazlehurst, George Shearing, Georgie Fame, Madeline Bell, Bobby Shew, Arturo Sandoval, James Morrison and many more.
Other big bands over the years have included the WDR Big Band (Cologne), 8 years with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, the Mark Nightingale Big Band and the Allan Ganley Big Band.
From the late 80’s Mike also became part of the freelance session scene, working on TV shows such as Wogan, A Song for Europe and several Royal TV Gala Performances. He recorded numerous jingles for TV and Radio and made commercial recordings for such diverse artists as Larry Adler, Evelyn Glennie, Sting, Elton John and the Spice Girls.
In the mid 90’s Mike became the regular drummer with Dame Shirley Bassey, this took him to Australia and New Zealand, the USA, the Far East and Europe. One of the highlights during his 8 years with Dame Shirley still has to be working at Carnegie Hall in New York! During this time Mike worked on several West End shows including Hot Shoe Shuffle, Beauty and the Beast, The Witches of Eastwick, Mamma Mia, Chicago, Guys and Dolls and most recently Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Mike has recorded music for several TV dramas, including Lovejoy, Ballykissangel, Soldier Soldier, The Brief, Midsomer Murders, Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey.
Mike has been very fortunate to work with many of the great film composers dating back to the late 80’s - such as Jerry Goldsmith, George Fenton, Howard Shore and Danny Elfman. Recent films include 'The Man from UNCLE', ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Mission : Impossible - Fallout’, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, ‘Spider-Man : into the Spider-verse’, ‘Aladdin’.
Watch Mike in action here