Personalities | Stuff Smith | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

(Violin, 1909–67)

Inspired by Joe Venuti in the 1920s, Joe Hezekiah Leroy Smith and his sextet (with Jonah Jones) became a sensation on 52nd Street early in 1936. In contrast to the polish of Venuti, Smith turned the violin in a more barrelhouse direction, making it swing with an unremitting swagger. He was also the first to play amplified violin and is remembered for his comic homage to marijuana, ‘You’se A Viper’. Norman Granz re-introduced Smith successfully in 1957.

Styles & Forms | Thirties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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