Smith, “Jabbo” Cladys (1908-1991)

Trumpeter, songwriter; born in Pembroke, Georgia and died in New York City; entered the Jenkins Orphanage in 1915, studied music, and played with the bands from 1918 until 1925; trumpeter with Sidney Bechet, James P. Johnson, Cecil Scott, Erskine Hawkins, Fats Waller and Earl “Fatha” Hines, and recorded with Perry Bradford; recorded “Black and Tan Fantasy” with Duke Ellington (1927); in Charlie Johnson’s Paradise Ten, house band for New York’s Smalls Paradise (owned by Ed Smalls of Charleston); played in the show, “Keep Shufflin’” with James P. Johnson and Fats Waller; his high point were his 1929 recordings with Jabbo Smith’s Rhythm Aces; worked in Chicago and Detroit from 1930-35 and was with Claude Hopkins from 1936-38; was only occasionally active musically in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s; played with the Preservation Hall Band and during the late 1970s, was featured in the New York musical, One Mo’ Time; a brilliant soloist whom Brunswick Records signed as an alternate Louis Armstrong; Smith recorded 19 albums with Brunswick and also recorded for Decca Records (“How Could Cupid Be So Stupid” and “More Rain More Rest”); considered the rival of Louis Armstrong but his skill could not be sustained because of his numerous vices.

Image Gallery

Selected Albums


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