SEARCH RESULTS FOR: Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith
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(Piano, 1897–1973) In the 1920s Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith was an obscure master of Harlem stride (a virtuoso style that evolved out of ragtime after 1919) whose brilliant technique influenced countless young pianists who heard him in person. His legend began to emerge in 1935 as stride was fading into nostalgia and he started to record regularly. For the next ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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When 1980s hair-metal band White Lion released the video for their breakthrough hit ‘Wait’ in 1987, guitar fans saw arguably the second coming of Eddie Van Halen. Guitarist Vito Bratta brought forth tasty rhythm-guitar parts, masterly single-note technique, and above all, a two-hand tapping technique that, while in the style of Van Halen, found a ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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With the exception of Judas Priest, no metal band has been more influential than Iron Maiden. And it is no coincidence that Maiden first took flight when guitarist Adrian Smith joined the band one month into recording their second album, Killers, in 1981. Adrian Frederik ‘H’ Smith was born in Hackney, East London, in February 1957. ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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Glinka, the ‘father of Russian music’, was the first composer to forge a distinctively Russian style. Previously, during the reigns of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, music at the Imperial court had been directed by leading Italian opera composers such as Baldassare Galuppi (1706–85), Giovanni Paisiello (1740–1816) and Domenico ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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Bessie Smith was one of the greatest vocalists of the twentieth century; her emotional delivery and exquisite phrasing has been an influence on instrumentalists as well as innumerable singers, both male and female. Many of her records, including ‘Gimmie a Pigfoot’, ‘Woman’s Trouble Blues’, ‘St. Louis Blues’ and the song that became an anthem of the Great Depression, ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Vocals, guitar, c. 1902–47) Texas-born Willie Johnson, a purveyor of sacred material who would probably have been appalled at being categorized as a ‘blues’ artist, was blinded at the age of seven when his stepmother threw lye in his face after being beaten by his father. He sang in a hoarse, declamatory voice and his fretwork ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Vocals, guitar, 1901–59) A skilled purveyor of the ragtime-influenced Piedmont fingerpicking style, Atlanta-based Blind Willie McTell incorporated pop songs and novelty numbers, as well as blues, into his repertoire – befitting an entertainer who got his start in tent shows, medicine shows and carnivals. His voice was unusually tender and expressive for a musician who ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Vocals, guitar, 1899–1947) A resident of Brownsville, Tennessee, Willie Newbern had only one recording session, for OKeh in Atlanta in 1929. Although he was not widely known outside his area, he influenced quite a few musicians: he recorded the first known version of ‘Roll And Tumble Blues’ and is said to have taught it to ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Trumpet, 1908–91) This Georgia-born trumpeter (real name Cladys Smith) was on the New York scene by the age of 17 in 1925, working with Charlie Johnson’s house band at Small’s Paradise. In 1927 he played on Duke Ellington’s ‘Black And Tan Fantasy’ and later that year joined James P. Johnson and Fats Waller in Chicago for a production of ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Vocals, 1883–1946) Mamie Smith’s first recording session, for OKeh in 1920, resulted in a pair of nondescript pop songs, but her manager Perry Bradford then talked the label into recording her as a blues singer. On 10 August 1920, fronting a band dubbed the Jazz Hounds – featuring stride pianist Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith (no relation) ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
185 Words Read More

(Piano, vocals, 1904–29) A seminal figure in the development of boogie-woogie piano, self-taught Clarence ‘Pine Top’ Smith was raised in Birmingham, Alabama and worked the southern club and vaudeville circuit during the early 1920s. In 1928 he relocated to Chicago, where he roomed with fellow boogie-woogie piano pioneers Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis and Albert Ammons. Smith recorded ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
100 Words Read More

(Vocals, 1895–1943) Atlanta-born Trixie Smith was a vaudeville trouper when, in 1922, she cut her first records on Black Swan. Although she did not have the vocal prowess of front-line blues stars like Bessie Smith (no relation), she recorded steadily until 1926 – often with top-flight jazz orchestras such as Fletcher Henderson’s – and sporadically thereafter. In the ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
94 Words Read More

(Guitar, vocals, 1900–52) An associate of Charley Patton, Brown was a part of the Mississippi blues scene in the early 1920s. While he started out playing with Patton and Tommy Johnson, he teamed up with Son House in 1926 and accompanied his Paramount session in May 1930, also cutting four songs of his own. Brown played ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
101 Words Read More

(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 ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
100 Words Read More

(Bass, vocals, songwriter, 1915–92) Willie James Dixon was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi and moved to Chicago at the age of 11. He learned bass and made his recording debut with the Five Breezes in 1940. After the Second World War he formed the Big Three trio, with whom he worked and recorded until 1952. He began ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
126 Words Read More
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