Warren I. Smith is a native of Chicago who holds a Masters of Music from the Manhattan School of Music in 1958. That same year brought his first jazz gig in New York City with Kenny Burrell at Minton’s Playhouse. He played Birdland in 1959 with Gil Evans, and from 1960-1972 worked regularly with Johnny Richards’ Bigband. It was around that time that Warren began extensive work both in the studios and on Broadway. Already an articulate voice within the jazz community, Smith found himself deep inside the Motown scene throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, and he played on all the Gladys Knight and the Pips’ 45 hit singles; performed on numerous occasions with Dionne Warwick; did several tours, recording sessions and TV dates with Harry Bellafonte; backed up Nat King Cole; toured with Barbra Streisand; worked on the ABC New York staff orchestra; worked as musical director of Janis Joplin in 1969; recorded, toured and did live TV performances with Aretha Franklin from 1965-1978. Concurrently with his extensive Motown and studio work, he began to teach at Adelphi University in 1969 and later at the State University of New York in Old Westbury from 1971-1996. Smith has remained a prominent percussionist and drummer within the jazz world, performing, touring and recording with the greats, from Charles Mingus to Miles Davis, Muhal Richard Abrams to Sam Rivers, Max Roach, M’Boom, Jabbo Ware, David Murray, Sonny Sharock, Anthony Davis—and many other masters of the music.