Jazz In the Bay

The best live jazz in San Francisco Bay Area

A curated calendar of the best jazz shows in SF Bay Area

Smith Dobson

Originally from Santa Cruz, multi-intrumentalist Smith Dobson V is a member of an important jazz family. His father, the late Smith Dobson IV, was a world renown pianist whom accompanied jazz legends like Art Pepper, Stan Getz and Chet Baker, to name a few. Also in the family, Mother Gail, and Sister Sasha are both jazz vocalists. 

As a child, Smith V had the opportunity to study with legendary jazz drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, who said of his pupil: "He has the talent, determination and persistence as a musician, combined with the dedication necessary to succeed... improvisational skills totally advanced, excellent sensitivity, both solo and as an accompanist...my most talented student!"

Dobson has worked with jazz legends like Bobby Hutcherson, Red Rodney, John Handy, Sheila Jordan, Red Holloway, Pete and Conte Condoli, Phillip Harper, and Ben Goldberg, and performed at major Bay Area venues, such as the SFJAZZ, Monterey Jazz Festival, Yoshi's, Great American Music Hall, California Jazz Conservatory, Stanford Jazz Workshop, and Club Deluxe.

Dobson's most recent album is Soul Of Wood, his first recording as a leader on tenor Sax. The album is influenced by some of Dobson’s heroes, such as Lester Young, Stan Getz and Warne Marsh. 


As a saxophonist part of what sets Dobson apart from his peers is his lithe, cool tone and relaxed, even phrasing. Inspired by Lester Young, the seminal tenor saxophonist who changed the shape of jazz in the 1930s with his sound and rhythmic feel, Dobson credits Ben Goldberg providing the inspiration to dedicate himself to the horn.
— Berkeleyside.com

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