Dr. J. B. Smith is presently Associate Professor of Music and the Coordinator of Percussion Studies at Arizona State University. He is director of the ASU Percussion Ensemble, which toured Russia and Poland in 1990 and performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Anaheim in 1991. The group recently commissioned and premiered Anthony Braxton's Composition No. 174 for Percussion Ensemble and Constructed Environment and Mary Ellen Childs' Crash. Dr. Smith also directs the Pandevils Steel Drum Band. He served as principal percussionist with Ensemble 21, a contemporary music group under the direction of Arthur Weisberg, as principal percussionist with The Daniel Lentz Group which recently performed at the Interlink Festival in Los Angeles and the Bang on a Can Festival in New York, and is the music liaison for ASU's Institute for Studies in the Arts.
He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baylor University where he studied with Dr. Larry Vanlandingham, his Master of Music in Percussion Performance and Literature degree from the university of Illinois where he studied with Prof. Tom Siwe and his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas where he studied with Dr. Robert Schietroma. Previously, Dr. Smith was on the music faculties of Tarleton State University in Stephanville, Texas and Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. He has written articles for The Instrumentalist, and Percussive Notes and served as president of the Arizona chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.
Dr. Smith is also active as a composer, with numerous works published by Whole>Sum Productions Press, and is a veteran of many interdisciplinary productions, such as Reversing the Spell with composer Robert Kaplan and John Mitchell, The Nose by Elizabeth Egloff, and The Binary Wheel with light sculptor Milton Komizar, in which he participated in various capacities as musician, photographer, airbrush artist and slide projection designer.