Violin is not my favorite jazz instrument.
However, Stuff Smith had a great swinging and almost dirty style on violin. Here is one of my favorite songs by him.
It Ain't Right
Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith (August 14, 1909 – September 25, 1967), better known as Stuff Smith, was an American jazz violinist.
Many of his fans said that he could outswing all of his competitors, and certainly Stuff was a major force on the bandstand.
Smith, who cited Louis Armstrong as his main influence, studied music with his father and played with the family band as a child. His first major job and recordings were with Alphonse Trent‘s territory band in the 1920s, but it was not until 1936 that he had his breakthrough.
Leading a quintet at the Onyx Club with trumpeter Jonah Jones, Smith's comedy vocals and hard-swinging approach made the group a hit on 52nd Street for several years; his novelty “I'se a Muggin'” became a hit.
Smith worked regularly with his trios in the 1940s, but was in danger of being forgotten in the '50s when Norman Granz recorded him fairly extensively for Verve; Stuff also participated in Nat King Cole‘s After Midnight sessions for Capitol.
The violinist moved to Copenhagen in 1965 and was active until his death two years later.
Stuff Smith is one of the 57 jazz musicians photographed in the 1958 portrait A Great Day in Harlem.
Title: It Ain't Right
Artist: Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys
Recorded: July 1, 1936
Tempo: 192 bpm
Dance: Balboa, Lindy Hop
You can find all the songs of the series also on my Spotify playlist.
Official hashtag of the series: #djcsotw
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