Skip Smith

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In Their Own Words

"I think the biggest thing I bring to class is diversity. I've played with Dizzy Gillespie, Marlena Shaw, B.B. King. On the other side, I was in a rock band, Gary Shane and the Detour, and we did gigs with Aerosmith and Cheap Trick. I was also in an R&B band that did about 20 dates with Bob Marley. My very first gig was with Little Anthony and the Imperials."

"I don't really talk about all that, to tell the truth, unless someone asks me. Not by design—it just never comes up. I have a contemporary R&B ensemble, and a lot of students might have heard of those groups, but are not familiar with the songs."

"I didn't have a special teaching style when I came to Berklee. Goodness, no. I think what I had was a lot of ability to learn and adapt very quickly. I was on the road for 30 years or more. And being on the road, you're used to change. In a classroom situation, things change all the time. The attitude I have is that I don't know everything, especially teaching contemporary music. In a sense, I'm learning from the students, too, because they bring in tunes by groups that I've never heard of."