For more information about Jazz St. Louis, visit https://jazzstl.org/.
Saxophonist, composer and educator Kendrick Smith was born and raised in East St. Louis, IL. Smith began playing in grade school, developing his skills much earlier than many musicians. His talents would be further shaped in high school by studying with legendary baritone saxophonist and founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet Hamiet Bluiett. Following his study at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville under the tutelage of pianist Reggie Thomas, Smith would secure a residency at St. Louis’s Premier Lounge. As his star began to climb, The St. Louis American billed him as “Baby Bird,” a reference to iconic saxophonist Charlie Parker and a New York Times review stated, “Kendrick Smith was playing the alto saxophone like his life depended on it!” One of the emerging pillars of the St. Louis music scene, Smith puts it best in that his vision is to “strive for excellence, show forth professionalism on and off the bandstand, to touch people, and to keep jazz music alive and moving forward.”