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 RIP William O Smith/Bill Smith
Author: Ed 
Date:   2020-03-18 04:48

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 Re: RIP William O Smith/Bill Smith
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2020-03-18 05:26

William O. Smith had the vision to do something else on the clarinet rather than continue traditional New Orleans Jazz, Goodman/Shaw Swing, or Buddy DeFranco BeBop styles. You can count on the fingers of one hand the jazz players who were able to find their own voice the way he did (Alvin Batiste was one of the few others). When people get around to listening to some of the work he did throughout his very long career, he may finally get the recognition he deserves.

From a session with Brubeck (Koto Song):

Visual artists interpret a Bill Smith improvisation:

Post Edited (2020-03-18 06:35)

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 Re: RIP William O Smith/Bill Smith
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2020-03-18 08:10

Thank you for those links, seabreeze.

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 Re: RIP William O Smith/Bill Smith
Author: jim sclater 
Date:   2020-03-18 16:59

What a marvelously creative and talented man, an inspiration to me in my early years. He will really be missed.

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 Re: RIP William O Smith/Bill Smith
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2020-03-18 18:34

Mike McGinnis offers an appreciative retrospective on Bill Smith here:
Reviewing these selections is a good "crash course" in what Smith was doing, for those unfamiliar with his work.

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 Re: RIP William O Smith/Bill Smith
Author: donald 
Date:   2020-03-19 01:17

Thanks Bob, I've "known about him" for a long time (I read about him in The Clarinet in the 1980s when a local teacher lent me a stack of her magazines!) but not actually HEARD him play more than once or twice.

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 Re: RIP William O Smith/Bill Smith
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2020-03-19 03:11


Smith's folk music recording is especially charming. Some musical friends not particularly interested in jazz or the clarinet have asked me where they can get a copy after listening to some of the takes on that record. Mikko Raasakka, in his exhaustive treatment of multiphonics and other extended techniques (The Clarinet: A Guide to Clarinet Technique in Finnish Music) gives credit to William O Smith for pioneering the development of multiphonics on the clarinet. Mikko says Smith's "Five Pieces for Flute and Clarinet" (1961) was "the earliest work to contain specific detailed" multiphonics. That was even before Peter Maxwell Davis and Alan Hacker got together to use them. Smith heard Servino Gazzelloni play multiphonics on the flute, probably in Berio's "Sequenza I" (1958) and said, why not do that on clarinet too? He was always thinking of the clarinet as a part of the musical tapestry and wanted to weave the instrument into the fabric. His book, "Jazz Clarinet" may be the most original exploration of that topic available.

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 Re: RIP William O Smith/Bill Smith
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2020-03-19 04:30

I played his "Five Pieces" for my Masters recital in 1981. Great and challenging piece.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers (PDF samples here)

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 Re: RIP William O Smith/Bill Smith
Author: Clarineat 
Date:   2020-03-23 19:51

I remember getting his CD when I was in university and being blown away by it. It was a level of creativity that was truly inspiring. Very sad to hear this. :(

The Clarineat Podcast

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