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William Smith

Dr. William Oscar (W.O.) Smith (May 2, 1917 – May 31, 1991), was a jazz double bassist and music educator. Although he never pursued a solo career, and, as a result, is not often remembered by jazz historians, Smith was an important player in early jazz history as a sideman. Most notably, Smith was the bassist on Coleman Hawkins' iconic 1939 recording of "Body and Soul". The great jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie said of Smith, "Of all the musicians I've had the pleasure of associating with, I can say that Oscar Smith was among the most gifted. His timing and resolution were almost perfect. He helped me discover my own sense of harmony and rhythm." Gillespie describes him as a sideman extraordinaire.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 2nd, 1917 (Bartow), Died May 31st, 1991 (Nashville)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1939

Roles Represented in DAHR: string bass

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-042933 10-in. 10/11/1939 Meet Doctor Foo Coleman Hawkins Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, string bass  
Victor BS-042934 10-in. 10/11/1939 Fine dinner Coleman Hawkins Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, string bass  
Victor BS-042935 10-in. 10/11/1939 She's funny that way Thelma Carpenter ; Coleman Hawkins Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, string bass  
Victor BS-042936 10-in. 10/11/1939 Body and soul Coleman Hawkins Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, string bass  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Smith, William," accessed October 25, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106354.

Smith, William. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106354.

"Smith, William." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 25 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106354

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