San Francisco Bay Area musician Derek Smith has been entertaining audiences for more than 20 years though his innovative music that combines the melodic brightness of the Caribbean steel drum with the driving rhythms of Calypso and Latin Jazz. Smith's unique sound is inspired by legendary musicians like timbales king Tito Puente, Latin Jazz vibraphone great Cal Tjader, and calypso master Lord Kitchener. The influence of such renown players has led Smith to create an original musical experience that can be described as soulful and joyous. 

Smith manages several bands reflecting each of his musical strengths and interests. Performing on steel drums for the majority of his performances, his talent isn't limited to the pan. His credits also include a long list of drumset, percussion, and vibraphoneappearances on other musicians' albums. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in music, with an emphasis on percussion.

Shared the Stage

Derek has enjoyed sharing the stage with many great musicians and bands including:

Pete Escovedo
Andy Narell
Havana Jazz
Mario Flores Latin Jazz Sontet
Fogo Na Roupa Samba troupe
Pankind Steel Drum Band
Pan Montuno
Latin Lingo
Michael Spiro
Kenny Stahl
Phil Hawkins
Ray Holman
Humboldt Calypso Band
Humboldt Symphony Orchestra
Corinne West
The Waybacks
Broken English Salsa Band from Santa Cruz
Danjuma Adamu & Kosono African highlife and afrobeat
Starlift Steelband in Trinidad & Tobago

"Opened Up" For

Smith has been involved with bands that have "opened up" for:

Airto Moreira
Babatunde Olatunji
Charlie Hunter
Mother Hips
Jeff Narell
New Monsoon
Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO)
Graham Nash


Derek has performed for politicians, actors, and celebrities: 

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver; Grey Davis, Pete Wilson, Jerry Brown; Clint Eastwood, Carly Fiorina, CEO Hewlett Packard; Mark Leno, Calif. Assemblymember; Al Jardin, Beach Boys; Alice Walker, The Color Purple, Pulitzer Prize winner; Sam Farr, Calif. Congressman; Fabian Nunez, Speaker of the California State Assembly; Oakland Raiders, members and players


Aaron Germain
Derek Smith - Latin Expression
Derek Smith - Pan Montuno
Humboldt Calypso Band (w/Ray Holman)
Arthur Godfrey (w/Norton Buffalo & Dale Ockerman)
Corinne West (w/The Waybacks)
Russell Ives - Eternal Groove
Mario Flores Latin Jazz Band
Banana Spliff
Jim Lewin
Wig Salad
Bole Bantu
The Choral Project
Colleen Sillver (w/Joe Craven)
Stanley Millard Project
The Johnson Party
Mandjou Kone
Bob Danziger (w/Helcio Molito, Kenny Stahl)

Influencial Instructors

Ray Brown, Jazz Studies, Cabrillo College
Dr. Eugene Novotney, Humboldt State University
Chalo Eduardo, Brazilian Studies
Chuck Silverman, Cuba Studies
C.K. Ladzepco, West African Rhythms
Mark Levine, Jazz Theory
J.B. Dyas, Jazz Theory
Edgardo Cambon, Congas


Smith's trips to the Caribbean led him to Cuba and Puerto Rico for percussive studies, and Trinidad, West Indies for steelpan and carnival experience. A cruise ship gig ("Salsa Cruise") took him along the Mexican coast and back to Catalina Island.

  • Derek Smith, steel pan soloist



Derek Smith

Steel drum soloist, Derek Smith.


Pankind quartet

Steel Drum quartet. Different instruments available. Pictured here are two steel drummers, bassist, drummer, and extra percussion.


CD's available

Derek has two CD's available for purchase. "Pan Montuno" and "Latin Expression."