|Tags:||jazz violin jazz violin|
|Decades:||1950s 1960s 1990s 2000s|
Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith, 14 August 1909, Portsmouth, Ohio, USA, d. 25 September 1967, Munich, Germany. Smith began playing violin as a child; he had some formal tuition but left home at the age of 15 to make his way as a professional musician. In 1926, he became a member of the popular Alphonso Trent band, where he remained, with side trips to other bands, for four years. In 1930, he settled in Buffalo, where he formed his own group, and in 1936 he went to New York for a long and highly successful residency at the Onyx Club. This band, which included Jonah Jones and William Cozy Cole, established Smiths reputation as a forceful, hard-swinging jazzman with an anarchic sense of humour (he performed wearing a battered top hat and with a stuffed parrot on his shoulder). Offstage he was an aggressive and disorganized individual, and in the late 30s he was forced to disband because of trouble with his sidemen, bookers, club owners and the union....