Joe Smith is a Denver-based trumpet player, bandleader, and educator who regularly performs across the United States. Originally from Winterset, Iowa, Joe began studying piano at the age of 4 at the request of his grandmother, and picked up the trumpet at the age of 10. His passion for music grew immensely while performing in the drum and bugle corps activity, where he was a member of the Colts and Santa Clara Vanguard.
Joe has studied trumpet under the direction of Dr. Amy Schendel, David Greenhoe, Andy Classen, Jon-Erik Kellso, Ben Polcer, and Brad Goode. Joe has been mentored as a bandleader by Dan Barrett, Hal Smith, Jeff Barnhart, Bria Skonberg, and Daniel Glass. In 2012 Joe graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Music.
Joe is well known for his ability to cover a wide range of musical styles, in particular, traditional jazz, swing, and early jump blues. Some of Joe’s performing credits include playing with Bria Skonberg, Bobby Floyd, Danny Coots, Brad Goode, Josh Collazo, David L. Harris, Jeff Barnhart, Mark Lopeman, Jim Fryer, Aaron Johnson, Josh Duffee, Greg Ruby, Jonathan Doyle, Jonathan Stout, Kris Tokarski, Jason Jurzak, Charlie Halloran, Clint Baker, Taryn Newborne, Kevin Smith, Louis Heriveaux, Benji Bohannon, The Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, and Louis Colaiannia.
In 2013 Joe formed Joe Smith & The Spicy Pickles, a jazz and roots group focused on Jazz and American music aesthetics from the Golden Era. In 2014 The Spicy Pickles’ music video “Movin’ Groovy” won the Seattle Jazz Dance Film Festival. The Spicy Pickles have recorded four full length album, and multiple EP’s, with their original music featured in commercials around the world for UPS, LeoVegas, and Visit Seattle, and in the feature length film The Killing of a Sacred Deer, directed by Yargos Lanthimos.
Joe is passionate about bringing the traditional roots of early jazz to a new generation through the bands he creates and collaborates with, as well as the projects he leads and participates in. He actively seeks opportunities to support diverse artists where possible, and create new opportunities for the music community at large. For over a decade Joe has worked as a producer and music director for jazz and swing dance festivals across the United States, including serving as music director for the Denver Jazz Festival for five years, and as an ongoing consultant for the Evergreen Jazz Festival. As an educator Joe has given clinics and classes at The University of Colorado Boulder, The University of Iowa, The University of Colorado Denver, Redwood Coast Music Festival, and Evergreen Jazz Festival, as well as producing and directing educational content for BAC Music Instruments.
Joe Smith performs exclusively on, and is a performing artist for Best American Craftsman (BAC) Custom Trumpets, and Denis Wick Mouthpieces and Mutes.
When not performing, Joe loves to spend time with his two sighthounds Lord Gherkin and Butter. He enjoys long motorcycle trips and cooking for friends. Joe Smith is also the owner and piano technician at 5280 Piano Tuning, and partner/executive chef at J.L. Schmitty’s.