Chicago’s Kenery Kent Smith is full of exorbitant passion, not only with playing bass but with his gift of writing. Kenery wears his heart on his sleeve and we are honored to share his story with you.
Growing up in a city that has seemingly produced more successful low-end groove makers per capita than any city in the world, Kenery Kent Smith has worked hard to become one of Chicago’s best. A 25-year music industry veteran, Kenery is part of a rich tradition of world class Chicago bassists. His performance resume showcases the Chi-Town musical trademarks of talent, hustle and a versatility to work in any musical genre.
As a childhood resident of the infamous Robert Taylor Housing Projects, a young and impressionable Kenery was destined to play bass guitar; growing up he would hear nothing but the bass lines to the music coming through the walls of his parent’s apartment, as the neighbors would tend to play their R&B, Gospel, Jazz and Soul loudly (i.e. EVERY WAKING HOUR). Thus, the musical fire was lit. Already possessing an artist’s spirit, Kenery soon began to hang around the local bands rehearsals as well as going to neighborhood talent showcases, learning what he could from watching…and listening. Soon at age 11, Kenery made his public musical debut in his 7th grade talent show and became hooked on the allure of the stage. All this with no true formal training, he began to perform locally with different choirs, bands and theater groups, learning what he needed along the way.
Kenery’s experience includes performances with artists ranging from international Neo Soul recording artist Erykah Badu, to world renowned Jazz vocal siren Dee Alexander, to R&B/Soul diva Terisa Griffin. Kenery has provided low end grooves for Acid Jazz pioneers Liquid Soul, and he has laid down a funky groove or two behind world famous comedian Bernie Mac. He has toured extensively throughout Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg with the inspirational voices of Sue Conway and the Victory Singers, and with Pierre Walker & Project: Sanctified. Kenery has also performed with Gospel legend Kim Stratton, Grammy winning recording artist Darius Brooks and has been fortunate to provide the low-end groove with many other prominent Gospel recording artists including Phil Tarver and Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. He has also worked in many other diverse musical settings, including performing music with the world-renowned tap dance ensemble MADD Rhythms, touring nationally with Jackie Taylor’s Black Ensemble Theater and with Chicago’s Free Street Theater (most notably at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.). Most recently, Kenery appeared in, wrote and produced original music for the independent film “The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang” (available on Amazon Prime). Additionally, for 15 years Kenery was co-founder and bassist of Chicago’s very own Nu-Jazz legends Detour JazFunk, with whom he shares writing, arranging and co-production credits on their debut CD entitled JazFunk.
Currently, Kenery can be seen and heard each week in the role of first chair bassist on the syndicated weekly Sunday morning broadcast of Victory Apostolic Church in Matteson, Illinois, as part of their extraordinary music ministry.
Q: Please share any accomplishments or achievements you would like to share with everyone.
A: I have been able to live a wonderful and fulfilling life using a God-given gift, sharing music with the masses! In the process I have been blessed to travel the world, meet and perform with many extremely talented people (some of whom were childhood musical inspirations), and most importantly, I have been able to share the healing and inspiring power of music. As musicians, when we take to the stages of the world to play our instruments and sing our songs, what we are doing is having interactive and meaningful conversations with each other; we are sharing our stories, our history, our dreams, our pain…our joy with each other. Then, subsequently invite the audience into those musical conversations so they can feel what we feel…so that they can share in our common human experiences through music and to inspire the audience to therefore reciprocate in the sharing.
Q: What else do you like to do besides playing bass?
A: I LOVE classic movies, comic books (I’m a Marvel Man…sorry DC!), listening to music on high end audio gear on quiet afternoons with my favorite beverage in hand. I enjoy writing both music and prose when I can squeeze it in. I, also, enjoy a good book or two.
I love house parties with close friends, breaking bread with the same, deep conversations with deep minds, and laughing hard and often. Every now and again, I will attempt to revive my skills as an artist and draw something cool. Also, if God says the same, I love the idea of being in love with a woman who truly knows and loves me for me. Maybe someday…J
- Why do you choose Bergantino gear?
A: For as long as I can remember, in my head the ideal sound of my live bass has been the sound of best recorded basses in recorded music history. Whatever the appropriate tone for the tune, that’s what I’ve always wanted to hear in the setting of a live performance and that means that I want to hear ME, my bass, my fingers, my inflections and expressions.
Bergantino Audio Systems is literally the FIRST time I have felt fulfilled in this aspect. Playing through my forté, in combination with either my HD210, HD112 or through my Reference 210…I don’t hear a “company sound”. I don’t hear coloration, unless I choose to color. I don’t hear snippets of my playing while the rest of my bass line is swallowed up in the band mix.
I now hear MY voice.
I now hear articulation of every note I play…warts and all…lol!
I now…finally…hear ME.
And THAT is why I LOVE Bergantino!
You can follow Kenery on the links below here:
Performing on the latest release by Andrea Love, “Twisted”: https://www.andrealovemusic.com/music
Bassist with Simone Green https://simonegreenlive.com
Coming Soon: K2S Productions.com