Joe_AtticJoe was born in Galesburg, Illinois, a small town west of Chicago. He studied Classical percussion and Jazz drumming at the Cincinnati Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music and privately with Vernel Fournier, Jimmy Lovelace, John Von Olen, John Riley and Jeff Williams. From 1991 until 2000, Joe lived in New York City playing with and learning from many of the best musicians the scene had to offer and formed his first group Initium Ensemble. After moving to Barcelona in 2000, he released two disc’s as a leader. Happy (2002) and Melodic Workshop (2004)(Fresh sound records) which features Bill McHenry, Gorka Benitez, Guillermo Klein, Chris Lightcap and Jorge Rossy. Joe has been a featured sideman on the recordings of John McNeil, Arthur Kell, Ryan Blotnick, Fredrik Carlquist, Brandon Miller and many others. He has toured extensively in Europe, the Americas, and the Scandinavian Countries. In 2008 he formed the Asociación Libre Orkesta, a free form Big Band which performs improvised music inspired by his poetry and projected Images. In the fall of 2011, he moved to Berlin taking part in the Deutsches Theater’s production of Shakespeare. Spiele für Mörder, Opfer und Sonstige, directed by Dimiter Gotscheff.  He is currently playing as a sideman in the groups of Larry Porter, Johannes Lauer, Johannes Haage, Juan De Diego, Jaume Llombart, Alex Kozmidi, Kyra Garey and many more. He also leads his own group, Joe Smith’s Melodic Workshop and has a duo with Ganna Gryniva. In 2015 Joe published a collection of his short stories called “Nickels & Dimes and other Stories” Joe has over 20 years of professional teaching experience and is currently teaching at the Berlin/Brandenburg International School (BBIS) and privately at his studio in Kreuzberg, Berlin.