Jazz: Still Roaring

My way was to get a cigar clenched between my teeth, my derby tilted back, knees crossed, and my back arched at a sharp angle against the back of the chair. I'd cuss at the keyboard and then caress it with endearing words; a pianist who growls, hums, and talks to the piano is a guy who is trying hard to create something for himself.

Willie the Lion Smith, 69, has been creating something for himself for more than half a century — and talking about it as fast as he could play it. With Fats Waller and James P....

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