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Bebop Spoken There

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11,740 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 17 this month (August 4).

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Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

RIP Paul Smith -Pianist Extraordinaire

When JATP rode into Newcastle City Hall on a day in February (maybe March )1962 we looked forward to hearing Ella, Hawk, Roy Eldridge, Tommy Flanagan, Major Holley and Ed Locke. Looking at the program, we noted that the Paul Smith Trio were opening the second set prior to accompanying Ella. Paul Smith? Never heard of him and, if it hadn't been because he had Stan Levy on drums and Wilfred Middlebrooks on bass we may have sat that one out in the bar
Thank God we didn't!
The ten foot tall (actually 6.5) pianist knocked us off our feet like only Peterson had done previously. He caressed the piano, he attacked the piano - he made sure we'd remember him. Later, he backed Ella giving her the support she required. It was the first Ella concert - and she sang beautifully by the way - that I'd came away thinking more about her accompanist than the First Lady herself!
Smith was that good.
He had a long and successful career recording - I've got one album - and managed to find that all important self-preservation niche in the studios.
Sadly missed. Paul Smith died Saturday (June 29) aged 91.
Obituary.
Lance.

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