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Willie "The Lion" Smith in his New York City apartment in 1947, smoking a signature stogie.
William Gottlieb/Library of Congress via Flickr
November 23, 2011 The life of Willie "The Lion" Smith was the stuff of legend, but his music backs up his boasts.
Fats Waller seemed to pack 10 lifetimes of fun into his 39 years on the planet.
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive
April 12, 2010 Born out of Harlem in the 1920s, stride pianists took the basic left-hand "oompah" rhythm of ragtime, but played it with more swing and complexity, while the right hand played the melody and the ever-increasing improvisations upon it. Read and hear a five-song introduction to a style that travels great distances up and down the keyboard.
Willie "The Lion" Smith was a major influence on Duke Ellington, who wrote several compositions dedicated to him.
William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress via flickr.com
June 11, 2008 The pianist was well-known for his flamboyant behavior, ever-present cigar, and trademark derby hat. But in front of the keys, he was also a leading purveyor of the ragtime-based style called Harlem Stride.
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