Smoker, Paul (Alva)

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Smoker, Paul (Alva)

Smoker, Paul (Alva), jazz trumpeter, composer, educator; b. Muncie, Ind., May 8, 1941. He was raised in Davenport, Iowa, from the age of two. He started piano lessons at six and began trumpet at ten, after hearing Harry James on the radio. He played in school bands and orchestras. At age 14, he began playing in the clubs across the Mississippi River in Rock Island, I11.; at 19, he played there with Dodo Marmarosa. In music school at the Univ. of Iowa, he was instrumental in organizing the first jazz large ensemble that met on a regular basis; members included David Sanborn, Dale Oehler, and Will Parsons. Smoker was awarded Best Arranger at the 1966 Notre Dame Jazz Fest. He played 20th-century classical music with the Univ. of Iowa Center for New Music and Univ. Orch. He studied trumpet with John Beer at Iowa, and, in 1966, with Doc Severinsen in N.Y. Smoker taught jazz studies and contemporary music at the Univ. of Wise, Oshkosh (1968–71), Univ. of Iowa (1971–75), Univ. of Northern Iowa (1975–76) and Coe Coll. (1976–90). He formed a trio in 1981 with Ron Rohovit and Phil Haynes. In 1987, he formed Joint Venture, a quartet with Ellery Eskelin, Drew Gress, and Haynes. He began playing solo trumpet concerts in the late 1980s. In 1992, he was a founding member of the Corner Store Syndicate Big Band with Eskelin, Dress, and Haynes, as well as Frank Lacey, Herb Robertson, Don Byron, Andy Laster, Chris Speed, Tim Berne, and others. In 1998, his projects included the Paul Smoker Brass Group, and the Paul Smoker/Vinny Golia Quartet. He has played with Anthony Braxton since 1983, and pianist Borah Bergman since 1989. He has also worked with David Liebman, Art Pepper, Frank Rosolino, and Peter Brotzmann.


qb (1984); Alone (1986); Come Rain or Come Shine (1986); Genuine Fables (1988); Halloween ’96 (1996). Joint Venture: Joint Venture (1987); Ways (1989).

—Lewis Porter