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Nate Smith + Kinfolk, with strings, live at Crosstown Arts

"When I'm playing snare, bass drum, cymbals, I hear orchestral sounds. I hear a universe of sounds," says drummer and composer Nate Smith. Audience members present at Crosstown Arts in Memphis, Tenn., on May 7 were welcomed into a new section of Smith's musical universe: When he and ensemble KINFOLK took the stage, they were joined by a string octet comprised of members of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

The addition of live string accompaniment heightens the sense of theatricality and lushness already present in Smith's music. For pieces like "Home Free (for Peter Joe)," which already include strings on the recordings, this concert is an opportunity to hear them performed as originally conceived.

After you watch this electrifying concert take a listen to our radio episode, profiling Smith's journey from Chesapeake, Va. through to the present moment in his career.


Nate Smith, drums, arrangements; Jaleel Shaw, alto and soprano saxophone; Brad Allen Williams, guitar; Fima Ephron, bass; John Cowherd, piano; Amma Whatt, vocals; Marcin Arendt, Marisa Polesky, Jessica Munson, Yennifer Correia, violin; Beth Luscombe, Mario Williams, viola; Mark Wallace, Kimberly Patterson, cello; Sam Shoup, conductor.

Set List: (All music written by Nate Smith unless otherwise noted)

  • "Signs of Life: Secret Agents of Weathering"
  • "Street Lamp"
  • "Don't Let Me Get Away" (Nate Smith, Amma Whatt)
  • "Pages" (Nate Smith, John Gordon, Amma Whatt)
  • "Morning and Allison" (Nate Smith, Amma Whatt)
  • "Home Free" (for Peter Joe)
  • "Rambo: The Vigilante"
  • Credits

    Producers: Mitra I. Arthur, Nikki Birch, Sarah Geledi; Technical Director/Lighting Designer: Steven Michael Black; Front of House Audio Engineer: Daniel Lynn; Monitor Engineer: Dustin Reynolds; Production Coordinator: Justin Thompson; Videographers: Mitra I. Arthur, Morgan Bell, Nikki Birch, Kevin Brooks; Audio Mix: Neil Tevault; Editor: Mitra I. Arthur; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Lead Producers: Nikki Birch, Alex Ariff; Supervising Editor: Ben de la Cruz; VP, Visuals and NPR Music: Keith Jenkins; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann.

    Special Thanks to Jenny Davis, Jazmin Miller and the Crosstown Arts staff.

    For more episodes, including our weekly radio show, full-length concert films and short video documentaries, head to Jazz Night in America.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

    Mitra I. Arthur
    [Copyright 2024 NPR]