Thursday, August 14, 2003

Ohio Moments


Smith had the stuff to play jazz with the best

On Aug. 14, 1909, Ezekiah Leroy Gordon "Stuff" Smith - widely regarded as the greatest jazz violinist of all time - was born in Portsmouth.

Smith began learning the violin at age 6. By 1924 he was performing with a revue. During that period, Jelly Roll Morton heard Smith play in New York and hired him. Smith later set up his own successful group. He took over the Fats Waller band after Waller died in 1942.

Smith recorded with Duke Ellington, Nat "King" Cole, Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald, among other jazz and swing greats. He recorded a V-Disc in 1944 that today is one of the rarest of jazz recordings. V-Discs were produced by the government and sent to troops overseas. Smith died in Munich, Germany, in 1967.

Ohio State Fair history

The Junior Fair first appeared at the State Fair in 1929. Today, more than 17,000 youths participate in one of the biggest junior fairs in the country.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8361.




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