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|Decades:||1920s 1980s 1990s 2000s|
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Cladys Smith, 24 December 1908, Pembroke, Georgia, USA, d. 16 January 1991, New York City, New York, USA. Smith was taught trumpet and trombone while still a small child and later toured with a youth band. At the age of 16 he was working professionally as a trumpeter (although he would periodically play trombone in later years). In New York from about 1925 he played with Charlie Johnson, Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson and others. Stranded in Chicago when a show in which he was playing folded, he worked in bands led by Carroll Dickerson, Earl Fatha Hines, Erskine Tate and Charlie Elgar. During the 30s he played with Fess Williams, Dickerson, led his own band, then returned to New York with Claude Hopkins and also played with Sidney Bechet. By the mid-40s, reputedly exhausted through high-living, he was leading his own band in the comparative musical backwater of Milwaukee and for the next dozen years mostly played in that city. He also worked outside...