to my Bio
Farris Smith Jr., a San Francisco native,
began his musical career with an early childhood foundation
in piano and guitar. By the time he reached his teens,
it was the sixties in San Francisco; the music scene was exciting,
stimulating, and uniquely improvisational and drew every kind
of musician known and unknown to the clubs, festivals and
parks of the City by The Bay. It was a fortunate time to be
a teenage kid with music on his mind. Living close to
Golden Gate Park and Haight Ashbury, he was an exploring teen
in a musical wonderland of free speech and freedom with music.
This was the first of many paradigm shifts for Farris
where he found himself passionately in love with music and
with international cultures - Farris became a Eulipian musician,
"a Journey agent's duty-free gift to the traveler"
to quote Roland Kirk.
After performing in London, Germany and France,
Farris spent 16 years on the culturally rich islands
of Hawaii playing bass guitar. During this time he performed
in many of the Waikiki clubs, most notably with "The
Nearly Famous Band", and soon discovered his talent
and love of the ContraBass. He attended and eventually
taught ethnomusicology at the University of Hawaii and
then in the mid-eighties relocated to Coffs Harbour,
Australia performing at the Aanuka Beach Resort as well
as teaching jazz bass at the Sidney Conservatory annex
in Coffs. Returning to San Francisco in the early nineties,
Farris obtained his degree in music, taught Contra Bass,
played straight ahead jazz steadily at clubs in and
around San Francisco Bay as well as made several recordings.
Farris's musical inspiration is passionately based
upon his African American heritage and the belief that music
should point towards a style and sound of life that not
only encompasses his roots, but originates "naturally',
without force, from a center of spirituality, love
and most importantly, with God. Farris' dictum:
"When there is faith, all things can happen".
He is most influenced by the styles of Charles Mingus,
Brian Bromberg and the distinct power of Ray Brown.
Now in Paris, he is focusing on the Avant-Gard. He feels
fortunate to share company of an afternoon with world renown
fellow bassists Alan Silva, Fred Clayton, drummer Sunny
Murray and other like minded artists.
Truly a unique Eulipian at heart, Farris
had always wanted to return to the music, magic and
people of France to explore the jazz scene in a country
that truly respects and continues to open it's arms
to the exploration of this American art form. He currently
resides on a small farm just outside of Paris. He also
travels to San Francisco numerous times during the year
continuing to play and study the richness, texture and
color of the Contra Bass.
Keep your ears
peeled for the opportunity to hear Farris playing his Contra
Bass, because another paradigm shift is in the works, and
he's bound for his unique home within the worldwide community
© 2014 Farris Smith. All rights reserved.