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Willie "The Lion" Smith



Willie "The Lion" Smith, master of the stride piano, was given his nickname after showing tremendous courage during the First World War, but Smith was also a musical hero for many, including a young Duke Ellington. Smith made his mark as one of the hottest musicians in Harlem at the turn of the 1920s, while also paying close attention to his predecessors and contemporaries. Through his musical memoirs of the 1950s and 60s, he brought back to life the sounds of piano whizzes who were then just the stuff of legend. Smith paid homage to the then living, but still obscure, ragtime pioneers Luckey Roberts and Eubie Blake. In this program, we'll hear Smith in 1950's Reminiscing the Piano Greats as well as some remarkable duos the pianist waxed with drummer Jo Jones from 1972.
 

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