Keith Smith

b. 19 March 1940, London, England. Taking up the trumpet in 1957, Smith originally favoured the New Orleans style and established a considerable reputation in this field. In the late 50s and through to…
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Artist Biography

b. 19 March 1940, London, England. Taking up the trumpet in 1957, Smith originally favoured the New Orleans style and established a considerable reputation in this field. In the late 50s and through to the mid-60s he played with several bands, leading his own in Europe and in the USA from 1964, where he performed and recorded with George Lewis and ‘Captain’ John Handy. He relocated in New Orleans and became known as the ‘Albino Kid’ after managing to get enrolled into the black musician’s union in the days of segregation. To subsidise his income as a musician he went into business running a fish and chip shop, but became a victim of the protection racket and decided to ‘get out of town’. Smith was also a member of the New Orleans All Stars, a package of mostly American musicians who toured Europe in the 60s. After spells in California and Chicago he moved to Denmark with Papa Bue Jensen’s band in the early 70s, he again formed his own band in the UK when he returned in 1981. He named the band Hefty Jazz, a name he also gave to his own record company and booking agency, and established a practice of touring with well-conceived thematic package shows.

Among these were The Wonderful World Of Louis Armstrong, for which he hired such ex-Louis Armstrong sidemen as Arvell Shaw and Barrett Deems, ‘100 Years Of Dixieland Jazz’ and ‘The Stardust Road’, a tribute to the music of Hoagy Carmichael, which was headlined by Georgie Fame. As a personal record he completed 1, 000 concert appearances highlighting the music of George Gershwin and Hoagy Carmichael. A dedicated musician who also combines effective business and entrepreneurial skills, Smith remains at the forefront of the UK’s traditional jazz scene in the 90s.