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    Smith, Charlie (1927 – 15th January 1966)

    Drummer from New York, New York, who appeared on The Best of Slim Gaillard:  Laughin’ in Rhythm in 1946.  In 1948, he was scooped up by Ray Brown for a newly formed trio that featured pianist Hank Jones.  This ensemble would frequently accompany Ray’s newlywed, Ella Fitzgerald. 


    Charlie was never with one outfit for long, however.  In 1949, he recorded some sets with Errol Garner that would appear on Garnering, 1949, Vol. 2, and Piano Jazz:  The History.  He was one of the original members of The Oscar Peterson Trio, but was soon replaced by Irving Ashby.  By 1951, he was back with Slim Gaillard, recording tracks for inclusion on Smorgasbord:  Help Yourself!.  He also worked with Roy Eldridge and His Orchestra and many of these sessions ended up on the long-play record, Collates. 


    In 1952, he was recruited by Billy Taylor into another trio, which featured a revolving door of musicians, including Earl May, Charlie Mingus and Oscar Pettiford.  On 24th February 1952, he appeared on TV with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker for a performance of “Hot House” which has been immortalized on DVD. 


    The Billy Taylor Trio became a quartet in October 1952, comprising Charlie Mingus, Oscar Pettiford, Charlie Smith and Billy Taylor, and they recorded four tracks that would eventually wind up on the 2008 CD, Oscar Rides Again:  Blues in the Closet.  In 1953, he did double duty on conga and drums on the Joe Holiday album, Mambo Jazz. 


    The aptly titled Cross Section, recorded between 1953 and 1954, features different incarnations of The Billy Taylor Trio.  In 1954, Charlie, along with Oscar Pettiford and Billy Taylor, did a turn with The Harry Lookofsky Strings.  Then he teamed up with Hank Jones and Oscar Pettiford for a date that made the cut on The Modern Art of Jazz. 


    In 1957, Pettiford and Smith hooked up with flautist Herbie Mann on Sultry Serenade.  Charlie joined Carmen McRae for three sessions in December 1958, and these songs appear on Carmen McRae for Lovers.  One of them, “When I Fall in Love”, made the cut on the 1993 CD, Carmen McRae Sings Great American Songwriters. 


    By the late ‘50s, Charlie had his own trio, with frequent partners-in-crime, Hank Jones and Oscar Pettiford.  They shared two sides of an album with Aaron Sachs entitled Jazzville Vol. 3.  In 1961, Charlie helped turn The Mitchell-Ruff Duo into The Mitchell-Ruff Trio, and they recorded The Catbird Seat live in New Haven, Connecticut’s Playback Club.  One of the last albums to hit the shelves while Charlie was still alive was 1963’s Moodsville, which contains a version of “Nice Work If You Can Get It”, with The Billy Taylor Trio. 


    Charlie passed away on 15th January 1966.  His drumming, however, lives on on CDs such as Benny Goodman Sextet, An Introduction to Johnny Hartman, and Jazz Memories:  Music of the Jazz Masters.



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    31. http://www.hbdirect.com/album_detail.php?pid=463102
    32. http://www.musicafilm.it/artists/charlie-smith.html
    33. http://home.earthlink.net/~jaffed/moejaffe/discography.html
    34. http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/auc.pl?softjazs&1235440827&1&3&1&
    35. http://library.bankstown.nsw.gov.au
    36. http://secure.swapacd.com/cd/album/554401-jazz+memories
    37. http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1793348











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