Walter Barnes ts, dir / Cicero Thomas, George Thigpen t / Ed
Burke, William 'Bullet' Bradley tb / Irby Gage, Wilson Underwood cl, ss /
Lucius Wilson ts / Paul Johnson p / Plunker Hall bj / Louis Thompson bb / Billy
Recorded in Chicago on December 24, 1928.
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 Boogaboo 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.
Jabbo Smith t / Omer Simeon cl / Cassino Simpson, another p / Ikey Robinson bj.
Recorded in Chicago on January 29, 1929.