The Smooth Players

The Smooth Players formed in NYC in the 1990s, in a funky little tenement on the upper east side of Manhattan. The city was alive with jazz, blues, hip hop, salsa, house, reggae, and funk and these influences is what the Smooth Players music is all about.

Mark Johnson – Saxophonist

Graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1988. Moved to NYC in 1990. Performed and recorded with Special EFX, Fantasy Band, Larry Coryell, Walter Beasley, Mark Whitfield, Alex Bugnon, Gerald Veasley, Roseanna Vitro, George Jinda’s World News, Dave Valentine, Hiram Bullock, Chuck Loeb, NYC PercussionWorks, Cheili Minnuci, Smooth Players, Nelson Rangell, and released three recordings of his own on the JVC record label.

George Laks

George Laks is a pianist and organist who has performed with Lenny Kravitz internationally on stage and television for the past 23 years. 

Some highlights of his contributions to multiple top‐ten studio albums and Hollywood soundtracks include:

  • MTV UnPlugged Collection Vol.1 – Lenny Kravitz
  • Ophelia ‐ Natalie Merchant
  • Power of Soul: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix – Lenny Kravitz 
  • Lenny Kravitz – This Magnificent Distance
  • Chris Robinson and The New Earth-Mud
  • American Gangster (Original Motions Picture Score) – Def Jam Records
  • Black & White America ‐ Lenny Kravitz
  • Free – Gavin Degraw
  • New York Groove Associates – New York Groove Associates

Norbert Marius – Bass

Originally from Hungary, Mr. Marius has been a fixture on the NYC music scene for nearly 30 years. A man of few words his bio is short: “Norbert Marius plays.”

Dr. David Johnson – Drums

In the 1990s and 2000s Mr. Johnson was a highly sought after drummer in NYC, traveling the globe with Bo Diddley, Gloria Gaynor, Special EFX, and working steady on the local scene. But in 2004 he decided to pursue another dream, and after ten years of study at Harvard, NYU, and Cornell he received his PhD in Neuroscience. Now he’s a Professor at a small college and is currently on a summer tour with drumming with singer and actress Dana Fuchs.