Sideman: The Long Gig of W.O. Smith: A Memoir

W. O. Smith, Author, Dizzy Gillespie, Introduction by Rutledge Hill Press $17.95 (319p) ISBN 978-1-55853-132-1
In this unassuming autobiography, the noted bass player, who died this year at the age of 74, tells of his early days in the black ghettos of Philadelphia and New York. His account recalls family and friends; his music studies at New York University, the University of Texas and the University of Iowa (where he received a Ph.D.); his 30 years as a teacher at Tennessee State University; and his longtime membership in the Nashville Symphony. Though he witnessed the genesis of modern jazz and performed with most of its important exponents, Smith writes modestly of his accomplishments; he was a team player who had no ambition to star as a soloist. Always interested in helping other musicians get ahead, he was most proud of founding a community music school in Nashville to provide young people with the same opportunities that he had enjoyed. Smith's story, like his life, is straightforward and unpretentious. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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