MUSIC ON MY MIND: Memoirs of an American Pianist by

MUSIC ON MY MIND: Memoirs of an American Pianist

By
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KIRKUS REVIEW

illie the Lion Smith is a jazz giant of Harlem stride piano and a two-isted tickler (""I could play 'The Double Eagle March' with my left hand as my right hand was beating out 'Home, Sweet Home,'""). He is also, if not of Jelly Roll Morton's tature, just as vociferous about himself. In this memoir Willie reveals all about illie and his relations with such famous pianists and composers as W. C. Handy, Morton, Fats Waller, James P. Johnson and Duke Elington (who contributes a real tight foreword). Willie, who exalts himself by speaking in the Napoleonic third person Yeah, these red-hot chicks wanted to dance it up with their cold-weather papas. The Lion could Tell!""), has a boisterously rich past which has been only slightly suffed up by the editor for veracity. Also, George Hoefer has inserted several interludes into Willie's narration to lend historical perspective. Well, only the ion can say, ""I played a little Chopin, the last thirty-two bars of which I rewrote."" he is a genuine raconteur, with an enormously interesting storybag filled with jazzmen, laying on the road, cities, the times and with his abiding love for Harlem. Mainly, the Lion always has music on his mind.

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 1964
Publisher: oubleday