Willie Smith (alto saxophonist)

William McLeish Smith, Willie Smith briefly ( born November 25, 1910 in Charleston, South Carolina, † March 7, 1967 in Los Angeles ) was a jazz alto saxophonist -.

Life and work

Willie Smith led from 1929 to 1942, the much-admired Saxophone Section of Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra at the perfect saxophone section of the big swing big bands of the 30s and 40s. In 1944, he played a 78s under his own name for a Black & White ( " Bugle Call Rag "). Also famous are his performances in 1945 at the " Jazz at the Philharmonic " concerts 1945/46, where with furious solos he fueled the audience, among other things with Gene Krupa and Hank Jones.

In the fifties he replaced Johnny Hodges temporarily at the Duke Ellington Orchestra and then played a long time in the Harry James Big Band. Smith heard with Hodges and Benny Carter to the "big three" of swing alto saxophonist and was known for his ballads and his Blues ( as Blues in the Night with Jimmie Lunceford ) as well as for its wild swinging uptempo pieces ( as I found a New Baby in 1945, with André Previn, piano ). Mid-forties ( and again short in the sixties at Kings return to jazz), he played with Nat King Cole on piano à la Nat titles such airiness and The Way You Look Tonight ( 1946) a.

Some of the most characteristic of his style sound examples of his later career offer the studio recordings for Capitol, 1955 ( Session at Midnight ) with Sweets Edison and Benny Carter. In soulful ballads as well as in fast tunes felt fans and critics, as Joachim -Ernst Behrendt always Smiths effervescence, wild originality and his sometimes impatient acting musical force that broke the boundaries of form and harmony often enough.

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