In 1996, Smith, who also plays Hammond B3, made his own name debut with My Colors. During the time that this album was in the making, Smith’s son and father both died and the resulting emotional turmoil added a dark edge to his music, a quality that set it notably apart from many smooth jazz releases. His next release, Both Sides, appeared in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart for 17 weeks, and a number of awards followed. With its smoothly reflective surface and the hidden depths of soul, Smith’s playing appeals not only to audiences for smooth jazz but also to those who appreciate the spikier seasoning he provides by way of elements of funk and R&B. Among musicians with whom Smith has worked and who have appeared on his albums, are Dave Koz, guitarists Ray Obiedo and Michael Gregory.