Growing out of the long-standing collaboration between saxophonist Walter Smith III and guitarist Matthew Stevens, In Common celebrates community, language and an ethos shared by an exceptional and diverse group of musicians in the American improvised music scene.
Smith and Stevens have recorded three albums featuring musicians of all ages, backgrounds and experience in new combinations, including Marcus Gilmore, Joel Ross, Linda May Han Oh, Micah Thomas, Harish Raghavan, Nate Smith, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kris Davis and Dave Holland. Working from the premise that shorter songs as well as free improvisations could facilitate interaction and interpretation from musicians, all three In Common albums offer a unique chance to hear musical conversations among musicians from all corners of the scene, sometimes playing together for the first time.
Over the last twenty years, Smith and Stevens have collectively played on over 150 albums, and performed at virtually every major jazz festival in the world with artists such as Roy Haynes, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dave Douglas, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jason Moran and Herbie Hancock. Smith lives in Boston, where he is Chair of Woodwinds at Berklee College of Music. Stevens lives in New York City and is a Professor of Jazz Studies at the Peabody Conservatory at John Hopkins.