Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY
Thursday, 17 October 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN " JABBO SMITH " A BRILLIANT TRUMPETER WHO BY THE TIME HE WAS TWENTY ONE HE HAD ACCOMPLISHED VIRTUALLY ALL OF HIS MOST SIGNIFICANT WORK : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY Jabbo Smith had one of the oddest careers in jazz history. A brilliant trumpeter, Smith had accomplished virtually all of his most significant work by the time he turned 21, yet lived to be 82. He learned to play trumpet at the legendary Jenkins Orphanage in Charleston, and by the time he was 16, Smith showed great promise. During 1925-1928 he was with Charlie Johnson's Paradise Ten, a top New York jazz group that made some classic recordings. Smith was on a recording session with Duke Ellington in 1927 (resulting in a memorable version of "Black and Tan Fantasy") and played in the show Keep Shufflin' with James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. The high points of Smith's career were his 1929 recordings with his Rhythm Aces. These superb performances feature Smith playing with daring, creativity, and a bit of recklessness, displaying an exciting style that hints at Roy Eldridge (who would not burst upon the scene for another six years). But, although Jabbo Smith at the time was considered a close competitor of Louis Armstrong, he had hit his peak. His unreliability, excessive drinking, and unprofessional attitude resulted in lost jobs, missed opportunities, and a steep decline. After playing with one of Claude Hopkins' lesser orchestras during 1936-1938,Smith settled in Milwaukee and became a part-time player. Decades passed, and when he was rediscovered in the 1970s (when he was picked to perform in the musical show One Mo' Time), he was a weak player, a mere shadow of what he could have been.
Jabbo Smith, born as Cladys Smith December 24, 1908 – January 16, 1991 was a United States jazz musician, known for his hot virtuoso playing on the trumpet.
Smith was born in Pembroke, Georgia. At the age of 6 he went into the Jenkins Orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina where he learned trumpet and trombone, and by age 10 was touring with the Jenkins Band. At age 16 he left the Orphanage to become a professional musician, at first playing in bands in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Atlantic City, New Jersey before making his base in Manhattan, New York City from about 1925 through 1928, where he made the first of his well regarded recordings.
In 1928 he toured with James P. Johnson's Orchestra when their show broke up in Chicago, Illinois, where Smith stayed for a few years. His series of 20 recordings for Brunswick Records in 1929 are his most famous (19 were issued), and Smith was billed as a rival to Louis Armstrong. Unfortunately, most of these records didn't sell well enough for Brunswick to extend his contract.
In March 1935 in Chicago, Smith was featured in a recording session produced by Helen Oakley under the name of Charles LaVere & His Chicagoans, which included a vocal by both Smith and LaVere on LaVere's composition and arrangement of "Booga boo Blues". It is an early example of inter-racial blues recordings, although far from the first as such had been made at least since c. 1921.
In the 1930s, Smith moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin which would be his main base for many years, alternating with returns to New York. In Milwaukee he collaborated with saxophonist Bill Johnson. Subsequently, Smith dropped out of the public eye, playing music part time in Milwaukee with a regular job at an automobile hire company.
Jabbo Smith made a comeback starting in the late 1960s. Many young musicians, fans, and record collectors were surprised to learn that the star of those great 1920s recordings was still alive. Smith successfully played with bands and shows in New York, New Orleans, Louisiana, London, and France through the 1970s and into the 1980s.