Decca; New York, April 23, 1935: Ed Allen-c/Cecil Scott-cl/Willie Smith-p/Willie Williams-wb.
A self-composed number by the band (Scott-Smith-Williams).
William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff Smith (with cigar).
Willie “The Lion” Smith took the young 15-year-old Thomas “Fats” Waller (pictured with Smith) under his wings and the first thing he did was teach Fats how to properly dress whilst playing stride piano.
And if you’ve watched videos of Fats Waller you’ll quickly see that he took the idea of flamboyance and swagger and ran with it until pneumonia took his life at the age of 39.
Willie Smith continued playing piano and smoking cigars until his death in 1973.