Ray Smith is one of those rare individuals who is a world-class performer and an excellent teacher. Currently he teaches at Brigham Young University as the Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Saxophone. His big band, Synthesis, has received national and international recognition by winning many jazz festival competitions such as the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, and those sponsored by the International Association for Jazz Education. Synthesis has also performed at many of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals including the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), the North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), the Pori Jazz Festival (Finland), and the Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy), the Edinburgh Jazz Festival (Scotland), the Copenhagen Jazz Festival (Denmark), the Wigan and Birmingham Jazz Festivals (England), and many others. In 2013, Synthesis was named the Top University Jazz Big Band in the Country by Downbeat Magazine.
As a performer, Smith is equally at home in either classical or jazz-related styles and is adept at all five of the woodwind instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone. He has over 200 CD credits and has recorded on many film scores, television themes and jingles.
Smith also does clinics and teaches at various jazz workshops including the Birch Creek Jazz Camp in Wisconsin where he received the Woody Herman Award for musical excellence and professionalism. In 1998, he was given the Voice of Jazz Award for the State of Utah; and in 2008, he was recognized by the International Association for Jazz Education as the first Utah Jazz Master, a lifetime achievement award “for profound contributions and virtuoso performance in the field of jazz in Utah.”
Ray Smith is JodyJazz Mouthpiece Artist, a Rico Reed Artist, and a Cannonball Saxophone Artist.