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The Jazz Life

Fit As A Fiddle: How The Violin Helped Shape Jazz, Part 1

Read "Fit As A Fiddle: How The Violin Helped Shape Jazz, Part 1" reviewed by Peter Rubie

Part 1 | Part 2 That was then... Considering jazz is an art form that mostly makes it up as it goes along, it's ironically appropriate that printed records--i.e., data--from the days of its birth are decidedly sparse. We know, at least, that during the 18th and 19th Centuries in New Orleans white plantation owners, one afternoon a week, allowed their African slaves time off to play their music and dance together. This music, direct from Africa, albeit ...

Album Review

Stuff Smith: Stuff Smith & Oscar Peterson

Read "Stuff Smith & Oscar Peterson" reviewed by AAJ Italy Staff

La storia del violino nel jazz è curiosa. Strumento centrale nell'esperienza afroamericana durante lo schiavismo, resta importante all'inizio del '900 nelle formazioni di ragtime orchestrale. Poi, con l'arrivo delle big band e la diffusione delle musiche di New Orleans, scompare soffocato da sezioni ritmiche e gruppi di fiati sempre più potenti. I pochi solisti di pregio sopravvissuti a questo cambiamento appaiono legati alle tradizioni europee classiche e folk, pensiamo a Joe Venuti e Stephane Grappelli. Stuff Smith è uno dei ...

Album Review

Stuff Smith: Five Fine Violins Celebrating 100 Years

Read "Five Fine Violins Celebrating 100 Years" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Featured here in his twilight years, violinist Hezekiah Leroy Gordon “Stuff" Smith was born in Portsmouth, Ohio in 1909. Before he died in Denmark in 1967, he became one of the jazz world's most colorful characters, performing on occasion with a parrot on his shoulder and playing with everyone from Alphonso Trent's minstrel band to Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson. Career-wise, Stuff Smith peaked with his Onyx Club Boys in the 1930s, when he set out to ...

Multiple Reviews

Stuff Smith: The Complete Tenor Sax Septets & Masters of Jazz

Read "Stuff Smith: The Complete Tenor Sax Septets & Masters of Jazz" reviewed by George Kanzler

Stuff Smith The Complete Tenor Sax Septets Ab Fable 2006 Stuff Smith Masters of Jazz Storyville 2006

These two albums give us snapshots of violinist and vocalist Stuff Smith at the apex and finale of his career in jazz. That career started in the '20s - when he, like ...

Album Review

Stuff Smith: Swingin' Stuff

Read "Swingin' Stuff" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Album Review

Stuff Smith: Hot Stuff

Read "Hot Stuff" reviewed by Florence Wetzel

After a long career in the United States, the great jazz violinist Stuff Smith (1909-67) moved to Copenhagen in 1965. Many recordings exist from this fertile period in Smith's career. The new CD Hot Stuff is a reissue of the previously out-of-print Live at Montmarte , recorded in 1965, combined with four tracks from Hot Violins , recorded in 1966. Live at Montmarte is a concert from Copenhagen's Jazzhus Montmarte and features Kenny Drew on piano, Niels-Henning ...


Stuff Smith: Swing Violinist

Read "Stuff Smith: Swing Violinist" reviewed by AAJ Staff

From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in 2002. When Hezekiah Leroy Gordon “Stuff" Smith picked up the violin, the house began to rock. The second major popularizer of the violin in jazz after Joe Venuti, Stuff received great success with his small high energy swing band in the Thirties. His choice of instrument was rare in jazz, but because of it's natural flexibility Stuff was able to give the violin a strong, ...


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