3 July 1942, Buffalo, New York, USA. Raised amid a musical family, Smith taught himself to play several instruments, including trumpet and tuba, before deciding to concentrate on the piano and, eventually, other keyboard instruments. In time, he settled on organ, becoming a successful practitioner on the Hammond B3. In the 50s, his first professional engagement was as singer in a doo-wop group, the Teen Kings. He continued to work with similar groups as an accompanist. He was heard and encouraged by several noted musicians, including Lou Donaldson, Brother Jack McDuff and George Benson, joining the latters band in Pittsburgh. It was with Benson that Smith went to New York in the late 60s, where he soon established his reputation. He worked with several well-known artists, including singers Gladys Knight, Etta James and Dionne Warwick. He also recorded with Benson, Ronnie Cuber, Donaldson, Turk Mauro and Jimmy McGriff.
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