Biography

Award-winning New Zealand Jazz artist, Hamish Smith, flows with rhythmic inventiveness and a unique groove-centric approach. He has been described by NEA Jazz Master, Todd Barkan, as “a modern marvel - one of the great young bassists in the world”. Currently living in New York, Hamish has quickly become a highly sought-after musician. His career highlights include tours, performances, and/or recordings with artists such as Paquito D’Rivera, Miguel Zenon, Dayna Stephens, Manuel Valera, Yosvany Terry, Benito González, Michael Rodriguez, Elio Villafranca, Diego Urcola and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Hamish is also a founding member of the collaborative group, Immigrantet, along with Nicola Caminiti and Juan Diego Villalobos.

 

After having been an influential member of the New Zealand music scene, Smith received a full scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music, which led to his move to New York City in 2018. After his freshman year of college, he was recruited to play in the quintet of NEA Jazz Master and Grammy Award-winning artist, Paquito D’Rivera. Having now graduated from Manhattan School of Music, Hamish continues to play and record with many groups throughout the United States and internationally. Hamish has also been mentored by some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians, including Jay Anderson, Buster Williams, Donny McCaslin and Mike Moreno.

 

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Smith grew up with a strong passion and dedication for music, learning several instruments before finding the bass at age eleven. He became proficient in various genres while growing up in New Zealand, which has led to him being a highly versatile musician now. During his formative years, he won several awards at competitions and festivals. Such accolades include winning the New Zealand Improvisation Contest for three consecutive years (2014-2016), the Best Bassist and Best Overall Musician awards at The National Youth Jazz Competition, New Zealand School of Music Jazz Project and Ara JazzQuest while still in high school.

 

Smith’s diverse background has allowed him to share the stage with an eclectic group of artists, including Terence Blanchard, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Stefon Harris, John Beasley, Alex Sipiagin, and many others. He is honored to have worked with conductor, Miguel Harth Bedoya, in a concert series with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet in 2019. From 2017-2018, he toured Europe as a member of the Jeunesses Musicales International World Jazz Orchestra led by Grammy-nominated trombonist, Luis Bonilla. 

 

Hamish currently manages a private lesson studio in New York and online. He has taught workshops at the college level and mentored high school students in New Zealand.