• Bobby Watson
  • Jim Rotondi
  • One For All
  • Peter Bernstein
  • Renee Rosnes
  • Steve Davis
  • Steve Turre

After surviving for almost 15 years in the white-knuckle world of running a New York City jazz club, Smoke co-owners Frank Christopher and Paul Stache decided that they were up for yet another daunting challenge, starting a jazz record label. Awed and inspired over the years by the music all around them, it was their dream to document and share it beyond the limited seats of the club. In the spring of 2013, they quit dreaming and instead recruited their friend Damon Smith to help turn the dream into a reality, Smoke Sessions Records.

The label’s initial focus is on the music and musicians associated with the club. Guided by the golden age of independent jazz labels like Blue Note, Prestige, and Riverside, Smoke Sessions’ ambitious plans are to release 10 to 20 new titles annually with 9 scheduled (one per month) through September 2014 and another full slate arriving starting again in January 2015. The first four titles are Harold Mabern‘s Right on Time (available now), Vincent Herring‘s The Uptown Shuffle (available now), Javon Jackson’s Expression (available now) and David Hazeltine‘s For All We Know (available April 8). Also arriving in 2014 are new titles from Louis Hayes, Jimmy Cobb, Cyrus Chestnut, Orrin Evans, and Eric Reed. Initially, the label planned to record live performances at Smoke exclusively, but future titles starting this year will also include studio sessions.

All Smoke Sessions releases are produced using vintage techniques and audio paths – i.e.; Rupert Neve-designed mixing consoles (Amek-Angela), Studer mastering decks, and Manley tube equalization – in combination with modern high definition recording techniques. Label co-founder Stache records the sessions then works closely with GRAMMY® Award-winner Roman Klun to mix and master them. Each releases features original photography by Jimmy Katz, as well as an original 2,000-word artist interview. The limited edition 200-gram audiophile collection was mastered for vinyl by celebrated engineer Kevin Gray and includes a classic “tip-on style” gatefold record jacket. Smoke Sessions titles are available on deluxe compact disc albums and as high resolution digital downloads; a 200gram audiophile vinyl compilation celebrating the first four releases is also available.

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Bobby Watson

While Black History Month provides an annual reminder of the momentous contributions that African-Americans have made to the nation’s history, 28 days out of 365 aren’t nearly enough to compensate for the neglect those “hidden figures” (to borrow the title of a recent hit film) have suffered in classrooms and …
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Jim Rotondi

The life of a jazz musician tends to be an itinerant one. While traveling the world over the past three decades, trumpeter/composer Jim Rotondi has formed a tenuous definition of the word “home” – sometimes it can mean a permanent residence, sometimes just a welcoming room for a few nights’ …
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One For All

At a time when jazz bandleaders from across the musical and generational spectrums regularly lament the difficulty of keeping a band together, it’s all the more remarkable that a supergroup like One For All has stuck it out for twenty years. But the impeccably swinging sextet, made up of some …
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Peter Bernstein

A record release party two decades in the making, Signs LIVE! reunites the four master musicians who came together 20 years earlier to record the acclaimed Signs of Life, the second album by guitar-great Peter Bernstein. Recorded live at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the album captures the long-awaited live debut of Bernstein’s once-in-a-lifetime quartet …
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Renee Rosnes

Poet William Blake famously wrote of seeing the “world in a grain of sand.” Pianist/composer Renee Rosnes takes a similarly intimate look at the wondrous sweep of the natural world on her new Smoke Sessions release, Written in the Rocks. Due out February 5, 2016, the album is built around an ambitious …
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Steve Davis

In life as in jazz, you never know what’s coming around the next corner — so it’s always best to think ahead. Trombonist/composer Steve Davis not only offers those two words as a sound piece of advice on his new album, Think Ahead, but exemplifies the art of putting it …
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Steve Turre

Trombonist and composer Steve Turre shows off his full spectrum of sounds on his latest album, Colors for the Masters. The album’s ten songs, evenly split between jazz standards and original tunes that carry the torch for the tradition, offer a dazzling array of hues played in tribute to and …
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Peter Bernstein – “Signs LIVE!” – Available July 28

Guitar-Virtuoso Peter Bernstein Reunites Classic Quartet from Sophomore Release for Live Recording, Signs LIVE!   Quartet Features Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Gregory Hutchinson Available July 28 via Smoke Sessions Records “Still studying, inventing and respecting after all these years…“ — The New York Times A record release party two decades …
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Available Now: Bobby Watson “Made in America” on Smoke Sessions Records

Available Now via Smoke Sessions Records: Saxophonist Bobby Watson Shines Light on Vital but Largely Unappreciated Black Pioneers on Made in America Album Pays Tribute to Butterfly McQueen, Madam C.J. Walker, Sammy Davis Jr., Wendell Pruitt, Major Taylor, and Dr. Mark Dean, Among Others “Watson displays that rarest ability to truly express not …
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Available Now: Heads of State – “Four in One” on Smoke Sessions Records

  Heads of State–Gary Bartz, Larry Willis, David Williams and  Al Foster–Four of the Most Revered and Influential Jazz Masters Unite for Sophomore Release, Four in One  Available Now on Smoke Sessions Records “This is a supergroup worth hearing, not just for the names or egos, but a real congregation of …
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Trombonist Steve Davis Composes for New Sextet of Jazz Giants and Longtime Associates on “Think Ahead,” Available May 26 via Smoke Sessions Records

Trombonist Steve Davis Composes for New Sextet of Jazz Giants and Longtime Associates on Think Ahead, Available May 26 via Smoke Sessions Records Release Performances June 2 – 4 at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club In life as in jazz, you never know what’s coming around the next corner — …
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Heads of State — Gary Bartz, Larry Willis, David Williams and Al Foster — Four of the Most Revered and Influential Jazz Masters Unite for Sophomore Release, “Four in One”

** NEW HEADS OF STATE RELEASE DATE ** Available Physically March 24, 2017 Available Digitally March 17, 2017   Heads of State– Gary Bartz, Larry Willis, David Williams and Al Foster —   Four of the Most Revered and Influential Jazz Masters Unite for Sophomore Release, Four in One  “The cumulative …
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Signs LIVE!

Peter Bernstein

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 28th July, 2017

Think Ahead

Steve Davis

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 26th May, 2017

Made in America

Bobby Watson

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 21st April, 2017

“#knowingishalfthebattle”

Orrin Evans

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 7th October, 2016

The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart

The Cookers

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 9th September, 2016

Colors For The Masters

Steve Turre

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 26th August, 2016

The Third Decade

One For All

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 3rd June, 2016

A Master Speaks

George Coleman

Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 8th April, 2016

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