- WILLIE THE LION SMITH SIGNED SLIP, AMERICAN JAZZ PIANIST, STRIDE STYLE
WILLIE THE LION SMITH SIGNED SLIP, AMERICAN JAZZ PIANIST, STRIDE STYLE
Willie "The Lion" Smith (1893-1973) Signed Slip, "Willie Smith", 5.5 x 4.5, bold, vintage signature, dated on the back in another handby the American jazz pianist and one of the masters of the stride style, usually grouped with James P. Johnson and Thomas "Fats" Waller as the three greatest practitioners of the genre in its golden age, from about 1920 to 1943. Legend has it that his nickname "The Lion" came from his reported bravery while serving as a heavy artillery gunner. He was a decorated veteran of the 350th Field Artillery, a regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers. He worked in Harlem clubs and in rent parties, where Smith and his contemporaries James P. Johnson and Fats Waller developed a new, more sophisticated jazz piano style later called "stride". Duke Ellington said that Smith "had a beat that stays in the mind." In fine condition, with minor age toning.