Joshua Smith Stolen Saxophone

On Monday, June 17, 2017
Joshua Smith's tenor saxophone was stolen in San Francisco California.

Those who know Joshua know him as a lifelong tenor saxophonist, and devoted performer of jazz and creative music, who has abided by the ebb and flow of surviving from making music for a living. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he performs regularly at jazz clubs, restaurants, private events, and concerts in the jazz in creative music realms, teaches music lessons, and raises his 4 year old son Shiloh. Joshua has played a 1952 Selmer Super Balanced Action Tenor Saxophone for the past 21 years. It is his primary instrument and has been a part of just about every gig Joshua has played. If you've heard Joshua play straight ahead jazz, or with his acclaimed band "birth", you have heard this horn. It has been his talisman, and he has breathed 21 years of honest, expansive, and thought provoking music through it. It's also the main tool for earning his living as a saxophonist.

His jazz website is

"I am in shock and fairly devastated to be parted from my instrument. I feel like part of me is missing as I constantly look around to double check for it like a phantom limb."

Origin Story
"I got the horn when I was 16 years old. (I'm now 37). I was visiting New York City with my parents to look at music schools, and found my war-torn Selmer Super Balanced Action at Manny's music on 48th Street in Manhattan.

It was the only used horn on site and it was in pretty rough shape. I had been lucky enough to meet the well-known jazz saxophonist Mark Turner who was so kind and generous to meet me in Manhattan that day to check out the horn, as I did not feel ready to assess the quality of the horn, being inexperienced in purchasing saxophones. What Mark found when he arrived at Manny's that day was a saxophone in deep need of repair and love and a 16-year-old aspiring jazz musician who would provide it just that. I was so happy to have a Selmer of that vintage and even though it was a bit ragged, I was over the moon to have that instrument. After an overhaul by stalwart Cleveland woodwind repair man Tom Ianni, the saxophone joined me for my life of making music, until last week. I played the horn throughout the US and Europe, performing jazz and improvised music and brought it with me every time I traveled anywhere for any reason. I have never been apart from the horn, and to have it gone is indescribably difficult. I intended to leave that horn to my son Shiloh."

Anyone familiar with Selmer saxophones knows that Super Balanced Action tenors are rare and the cost for them has steadily increased over the last 21 years. The current value of Joshua's horn was over $8,000. To replace it from a reputable dealer will cost approximately $10,000 or more. Hoping to replace the horn within the next several weeks, Joshua is reaching out now to raise funds for this purchase.

"I've been in shock since it happened, filed a report with the police, and have made multiple visits to pawn shops, and called every music store in the in the Bay Area in hopes of somehow finding my horn."

After several days of praying that his horn would somehow be recovered, Joshua has accepted that he must now be focused on finding another Super Balanced Action Tenor Saxophone to purchase, which is a difficult task. Affording this saxophone at the current rates would be virtually impossible for Joshua on a gigging musician's salary. Donations to this campaign will be used to buy a comparable Selmer Super Balanced Action Tenor Saxophone to replace what was stolen.

Joshua with his son Shiloh

Joshua is throwing himself on the mercy and generosity of friends, family, and supporters to help him reach all or part of his goal of replacing his instrument with a horn to play for the rest of his life.

"I've never done any crowd funding for any of my projects, and always felt so grateful to make a living playing music, but I don't know how I can get through this without doing so now. I'm really praying that I can find a way to raise enough, and will be so eternally grateful for anything contributed to this process. My hope is that those who have enjoyed my music over the years, and who have witnessed my dedication to my art form, will be willing to help in this moment, when I have no other way to replace my horn."

"I realize that the goal amount of this fundraiser is a lot, and I want to thank in advance anyone who sees fit to make a donation large or small. I am very humbled by losing the one material object that carries the most significance for me and I hope that with your help I can continue to serve the world with my saxophone playing until I am no longer able."

Joshua after his very first gig, in 1991.

Joshua with his beloved Selmer at The Bop Stop in Cleveland, 1997
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 56 mos
  • Lorin Benedict 
    • $100 
    • 57 mos
  • David & Robin Moller 
    • $100 
    • 57 mos
  • Andrew Gilbert 
    • $40 
    • 57 mos
  • Cara Young 
    • $10 
    • 57 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Joshua Smith 
Bolinas, CA
James Smith