Violin Summit Stuff Smith
- 1Summit Soul06:44
- 2Pentup House05:55
- 3Timme's Blues06:56
- 4It Don't Mean a Thing07:00
- 5Pennies from Heaven04:23
- 6Only Time Will Tell05:46
- 7Hot Toddy04:06
Info for Violin Summit
Four of the greatest violinists in jazz get together for a once-in-a-lifetime live summit. Dane Svend Asmussen, followed in the steps of jazz legend Joe Venuti; Frenchman Stephané Grappelli together with Django Reinhardt defined European swing; Afro-American Stuff Smith built the bridge between swing and bop; Frenchman Jean-Luc Ponty catapulted the instrument into the modern era (for more on the four, check out their individual releases on MPS). Copenhagen’s famous Club Montmartre’s rhythm section with pianist Kenny Drew and bassist Niels Henning Pederson guide the violinists as they climb the heights. Ponty’s Summit Soul shows off the Europeans as Stephané, Svend and Jean-Luc solo in that order. The two Frenchmen take center stage on Sonny Rollins’ bop classic Pentup House, with first Grappelli, then Ponty soloing. Stuff Smith’s Timme’s Blues has Stuff and Svend vocalizing before going into solos. On Ellington’s It Don’t Mean A Thing first Grappelli, then Asmussen, Ponty, and Smith decisively demonstrate they all ‘got that swing’. Pennies From Heaven is all Grappelli, and it’s worth every cent. Smith’s Only Time Will Tell features Stuff, and he has a lot to say in so short a span. The summit ends with Svend, Jean-Luc, and Stephané soloing on Hot Toddy, an exhilarating final kick to an album that warms the soul.
Stuff Smith, violin
Jean-Luc Ponty, violin
Stéphane Grappelli, violin
Svend Asmussen, violin
Kenny Drew, piano
Niels-Henning Örsted Pedersen, bass
Axel Riehl, drums
Engineered by Hans-Georg Brunner-Schwer
Produced by Joachim E. Berendt
was undoubtedly one of the great swing violinists of the early 20th century. He was an African-American, born Hezekiah Leroy Smith, in Ohio; his nickname came from his habit of referring to other people whose name he couldn't remember as "Stuff".
Smith was born August 14, 1909 in Portsmouth, Ohio and grew up in nearby Massillon and Cleveland where he absorbed the influence of jazz trumpeter, Louis Armstrong. He started his career in the Alphonso Trent orchestra in Dallas in 1926 and formed his own band in 1930. Smith achieved stardom while leading small groups at the Onyx Club in New York City. After being signed to Vocalion in 1936, he had a big hit with "I'se A Muggin'" and was billed as Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys. He recorded for Vocalion in 1936, Decca in 1937 and Varsity in 1939-1940. Smith cited Louis Armstrong as his primary influence and inspiration to play jazz, and like Armstrong, was a vocalist as well as an instrumentalist.
He is credited as being the first violinist to use electric amplification techniques on a violin. He contributed to the song "It's Wonderful" (often performed by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald throughout their careers.
Smith moved to Denmark in 1965 and performed throughout Europe until his death on September 25, 1967 in Munich Germany. He is buried at Klakring Cemetery in Jutland, Denmark.
This album contains no booklet.