Gary Smith, Drummer for Chase, Original Drummer for Survivor, Studio Drummer
Software R-L:  Mark Colby, Bill Ruppert, Dennis Johnson, Pat Leonard (back) and Gary Smith
Although attributed to the German techno-group who followed with the same name, the first Software album was written and recorded by Chicago studio musicians. Soon after Gary and bassist Dennis Johnson left Survivor, keyboard artist Patrick Leonard along with Johnson called the members together. Leonard brought in guitarist Bill Ruppert, protege' of Allan Holdsworth, and Dennis asked Gary to get involved. Leonard has since produced multi-platinum artists including Madonna, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Roger Waters Click Here to Read Bob James' Review of the Software Albumand others, and composed for movies including "At Close Range" and "Shrek." Saxophonist Mark Colby, with two solo jazz albums to his credit and two more with Bob James, had moved to the Chicago area and was guest soloist in the studio, where he met most of the players for the first time. A consummate musician, he sight-read the sessions. Mark's current solo efforts are available on iTunes.

Produced with the band by Jim Fairs and Larry Millas, Software's 1981 album "Marbles" was well received and popular on smooth jazz radio stations as well as college play lists. Some regard the record as a groundbreaking effort for many of the artists that followed in smooth jazz and new age music. Two of the songs were co-written by Gary. The recording is also an early audiophile digital master. Released originally on Headfirst Records in 1981, Software was re-released in CD format in 1991 with K-Tel distribution, and is available on I-Tunes, as "Software - All We Hoped For." Although the band played some live dates and started a second album, that record was never completed. The members moved on to other projects, but continued to work together on various recording sessions in and around Chicago.

The October 1989 issue of JazzTimes said, "Software shows off a lean, mean jazz-rock sound that swings with rhythmic as well as lyric abandon...Software is an outfit to savor for it's own unique and admirable attributes."

Upon the Software album's re-release in 1991, ten years after the original recording, JAZZIZ Magazine described the CD as "hip fusion with West Coast sensibilities."

In 1992 three former members of Software: Bill Ruppert, Dennis Johnson and Gary reunited to record the track "Face It" for the CD "Guitar On The Edge." The album is a compilation of "OVER ONE HOUR OF THE WORLD'S SCARIEST GUITARISTS," and Bill Ruppert fits that description. A successful producer and studio guitarist in Chicago, Ruppert continues to innovate on guitar. Click here to see and hear some of Bill's latest work.


© 2008 All Rights Reserved.   Site MapGary SmithProminent Web Design