You are watching: Clarence pinetop smith played what style of piano
Clarence “Pine Top”SmithwasbornJanuary or June the 1904,inOrion, Alabamain the love of southeastAlabama. Hewent top top tobecomeaninternationally acclaimedblues pianistandcitedasone of theoriginators of“boogie-woogie.”In 1928 he exit “Pine Top’s BoogieWoogie”which wasthe firsttimethe phrase“boogiewoogie”appeared in arecordedsong.His music and also performance stylewasshapedby Southernbarrel-housebluesthatevolved in theSouthernturpentine camps, brothels, juke jointsandtravelingvaudevillebluesshowsof his day.Pine Top’s performance layout was rootedintheearly blues and also vaudeville traditionand as a result,he wasnot only an exceptional musician but likewise an all-round entertainer. Hewasparticularly well-known for his comedic,witty and also lyricalbanter the he famously “rapped” over the control rhythms of his piano playing. PineTop Smithisalsoconsidered among the establishing fathers ofrap.At the time ofitsrelease,“Pine Top’s BoogieWoogie,”was a major hitandiscitedashaving a key impactnot onlyonthestory the thebluesbutthe broaderevolutionofAmericanmusicas a wholeright as much as theeventualemergence that rock and also roll and also rap.
He was born was in the tiny community of Orion, north the Troy, in Pike County, to Sam and also Molly Smith – one of 5 children. In ~ this time, most African Americans lived in conditions of extreme rural poverty, under the repressive conditions of Jim crow Laws, and also were mostly destined to job-related as indentured sharecroppers eking a subsistence survival level that existence. The family members moved to Troy shortly after his birth and follow to his wife, the was his childhood love of climbing trees earned him the nickname “Pine Top.” Certainly, this region is known for its plentiful pine tree forests. Tiny is known around these at an early stage years but it is likely that Smith had actually his first exposure come piano in a local church and had his first exposure to blues music on the streets and also in local juke houses. By his early teens, he was already playing house parties in the Troy area. He was serious about music and soon moved to Birmingham, a regular destination because that traveling blues shows where there was a vibrant music scene. He was based out of Birmingham for a couple of years and also played in local venues, including the east End Park Club. In Birmingham he connected with fellow blues musicians, including barrel-house piano player and Aliceville, AL, native Robert McCoy. With Birmingham as his base, Clarence “Pine Top” Smith soon began to seriously travel and perform and in 1919, then a young teenager, is credited as a member the “Mattie Dorsey’s Big Four” at an illustration in Memphis, Tennessee.
This to be the dawn the the “Roaring Twenties” and the “Jazz Age,” v its craze for big bands and wild dancing. Solo piano players had to compete to win the approval that the dance-crazy publicly in loud crowd-filled venues. Some discovered they can delight dancers with a fast-pass blues-style through a rojo left hand base line and repeated patterns of eighth notes, rather than 4 minutes 1 notes. Through its rag-time, sacred, jazz and also blues influences, the musical gumbo boogie-woogie style was born. The style evolved in barrel-houses, home parties, turpentine camps, brothels, theaters and juke joints in the South throughout the 1900s and traveled v the musicians that migrated to the north cities. It should also be noted that Perry Bradford (Alabama native/music entrepreneur, blues piano player and partner of W.C. Handy) stated in his autobiography that the very first time that heard the “boogie-woogie” was in Chicago in 1906 play by a mysterious piano player also from Alabama called “Lost John.”
It should be detailed that etc players were likewise experimenting through this style. Mississippi delta bluesman Robert Johnson was listed to be an innovator that the “rolling base line” that he plucked out on the reduced strings that his guitar– and thatRobert make his large musical breakthrough while researching with IkeZinnerman, his elder guitarist mentor. Ike had actually learned guitar farming up in the Wiregrass region, born in Grady,less 보다 30 miles away from Troy– from older wiregrass blues musicians.It is not a good leap come surmise that it was Wiregrass bluesman Ikewhobrought this layout with him when he moved to Mississippi to work and also transmittedittoJohnson,who walk on come record and also get credit transaction for thisstylisticinnovation.Then again, as it is hardly ever pointed out. Johnson appears late in the story the the blues – and is offered far an ext credit 보다 he is early out in terms of blues origins. He passed away age 27 in 1938 – and recorded only a couple of sides virtually a te after Pinetop had died.
Solo blues musicians had actually a the majority of pressure to carry the present alone and also had come beall round entertainers. PineTopfound hewould include excitementto his performanceby “rapping” come theaudience, encouraging thedancersandgivinginstructions,likecalling“thegirl through the red dress on” to“shake the thing” and also “mess around.”Smith was one of the height virtuosos the the format just as the genre was gaining more comprehensive popularity
Byagesixteen,the ambitious youngSmithjoined the countless African american wholefttheSouthand headed north,as component ofthe great Migration,toarrive inPittsburgh,which haditsownrenownedthrivingjazz and bluesscene.There was also a burgeoning blackurbanmiddle-class that had actually money come spend and also enjoyed the opportunities for optimal notch entertainment.He soonfoundwork inthebustlingnightlifeoftheHill district, nicknamed“Sugar Top.”This washeart that the entertainment districtwithplenty of opportunities forregularlate nightgigsin thelively night clubs, run ballrooms,andtheaters.Smith was not alone and manySouthern jazz and also blues musicians migrated totake benefit of the opportunities of to be uncovered inthis flourishing music scene. Hefounda regularjob playing piano in a society onWylie Avenueand exposure to numerous talent the played in the numeroussurrounding“Sugar Top” venues.
There room no recognized photographs that Pine optimal Smithbut reportsby contemporaries define him together an enigmatic character, handsome, dapper and well dressed.Hewasalso reported to it is in fond of alcohol, slept the the effects throughout the day and also came to life in the night –a considered womanizer and not only played in the red-light district but also frequented the use of services listed there.
He gained an excellent experience ~ above thesouthern travel road present circuit and also performed withmanyacts,including The Raymond Brothers, The Whitman Sisters, and also Matt Dorsey’s Pickaninnies.The legendary Wiregrass native Ma Raineyhadalsohadrelocatedto Pittsburgand for a time chosetobase she traveling showin thethriving musical scenethere.Shehired Smithtojoin herentourage of performers andhe toured on the vaudeville T.O.B.A(Theater owners BookingAssociation– likewise nick called by the musicians challenging On black Asses – forit’sgrueling schedule and also living problems on the road)theater and also tentshowcircuit together apiano player,singer,tapdancer and comedian.His call grew and also he toured through prestigious acts as well as Ma Rainey,likeBirmingham,AL,native CootGrant and Wilson, and also Butterbeans and Susie.With the TOBAcircuit that played all over thesouth including:Barleys 81 Theaterandthe Lyric Theater, new Orleans;KoppinsTheater, Detroit and also the cities of Atlanta and Memphis. Though based the end of Pittsburg, smith traveled extensively to perform and also is recognized to have lived for short periods in St. Louis, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska,where he spent periods of time playing clubs, rent parties and whore houses.
See more: How Much Is A Half Gallon Of Jack Daniels Black 750Ml, Jack Daniel'S Old No
He changed to Pittsburgh between tours, performing in neighborhood clubs and cabarets. It to be at the Rathskeller on Wiley avenue in 1924 wherein he met and also fell in love with Sarah Horton. That married her on October 11, 1924, when he to be twenty. Sarah was originally from Charlotte, NC. “Pine top and I simply seemed to loss in love appropriate away- we constantly got along swell.”
In Pittsburg,sometimeafter his marriage,Smith connected with fellowAnniston,AL,native,bluesman Cow Cow Davenport.Davenportwas currently a veteranpiano playerwhohadtoured extensivelyand wasat the timeworking as a talent scout forBrunswick/Vocalion RecordsbasedinNew York andChicago.
The “race” recording boom wasflourishingandblues 78 record saleswerebooming asAfrican American music perform byAfrican American musicians to be being commercially taped for the an initial time.Davenport went to hear Pine peak at alocal honky tonk called the Sachem Alley, “a chillyparlorand beer garden.”Cow Cowwas really impressed andis quoted as sayingto PineTop,“Boy, look here, you have obtained a typical boogiewoogie.”There is good debate regarding who very first used the word “boogie woogie.”Cow Cow claims he brought the expression through him indigenous Alabama – his grandmother said him as a son that the boogie guy would gain him for playing the devils music.Cow Cow Davenport had been kicked out of Seminary in Selma for playing “rags and blues.”