Play It Again Paul Smith Dies at 91 ~ Tunes From American Jazz Legend {music video}


jazzPlay It Again Paul,  American Jazz legend, Paul Smith dies at 91. His publicist, Alan Eichler reported Paul died of heart failure Saturday at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center. Paul Smith is remembered by a large and loving family, his wife Annette Warren (also a pianist) to whom he shared a wonderful union of more than 50 years, their daughter Lauri Johnson, sons Gary and Paul, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  Add to that another warm circle of friends and fans that loved him and his beautiful talent that he shared so gracefully and Paul Smith was truly a rich man, with a life well lived Generous with his talent Paul leaves a legacy of music and invaluable education techniques  and insights from his experience.

His music makes you smile. There’s an electricity that runs through his hands and across the keys. Whether it was a ballad or an upbeat number like Fly Me To The Moon, let’s play it again, tunes from American jazz legend Paul Smith:

Paul Smith’s arrangement of Fly Me To The Moon. 

Paul Smith had a long and successful career as a studio musician, composer, arranger, performance artist and piano method instructor.  His stellar performances and collaborations include jazz greats: Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Nat “King” Cole, Dizzy Gillespie Sammy Davis Jr., Doris Day, the Andrews Sisters, the Beatles, and Jimmy Durante, Johnny Mercer, Sarah Vaughn… the man is a jazz legend, albeit not as well known as the vocalists he accompanied, or even as well recognized as other piano accompanists like Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones. He does however deserve just as much attention and notable place in our jazz music history. The man held his own and was a perfectionist in his work, it shined through his art and his soul.

His work with Ella Fitzgerald was extensive and the two of them enjoyed a strong partnership both in recording and on tour. Here is a song from the album, Intimate with Ella. You can hear how “in tune” they are with one another, how he brings out Ella’s voice to emotional hues. Let’s Play It Again Paul, our second tune  from American jazz legend Paul Smith is Angel Eyes with Ella Fitzgerald.

Angel Eyes 

Paul Smith was born in San Diego, California and began learning classical piano at the age of eight.  Later, he formed what was known at the Paul Smith trio, but also continued to play as a soloist. In his years as a teen, Smith played with Johnny Richards, and later Les Paul and Tommy Dorsey.

This is a video of Pauls in 2012 at the age of 90, still tickling the ivories as easily as he breaths the air around him.

He is a master at the keyboard, even at the age of 90, Paul Smith was “an impressive sight on stage.”

Playing with a versatility comparable to that of Oscar Peterson and a harmonic richness similar to the work of Bill Evans, he was both a brilliant soloist and an accompanist who was highly praised by the many singers with whom he performed.

Can you name our final choice for tunes from American jazz legend Paul Smith?

Tonnya Marisse


L.A Times – Paul Smith dies at 91; jazz pianist, arranger, composer

NuovaCanaria – Angel Eyes Remastered 

One ForEveryMood – I Can’t Give You Anything But Love 

The Telegraph Paul Smith Piano Star Who Played With The Greats 

White, Christopher Edward – The Art of Accompanying the Jazz Vocalist, A Survey of Piano Styles and Techniques

Wikipedia – Paul Smith Pianist 


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