Buster Smith

7-buster-smith copyThis podcast is devoted to a relatively unknown alto saxophonist active in Kansas City in the 1930s. Although not as well-remembered as the more famous alto men like Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter, or Willie Smith from the swing era, Buster left a huge musical legacy for jazz saxophone playing. Together with Lester Young he was a primary influence on the young Charlie Parker when Parker was coming of age in Kansas City in the 1930s. Charlie Parker copied Buster’s sound and vibrato to such a degree that it was difficult to tell the difference between them when they were both playing with the Jay McShann Orchestra in the early 1940s. Buster’s last years were spent in relative obscurity living in Texas while Charlie Parker went on to become one of the greatest performers and innovators in jazz.

Buster Smith

CompositionArtistYear
SwingmatismCharlie Parker with Jay McShann Orchestra1941
I Got It BadJohnny Hodges with Duke Ellington1940
Jeep's BluesJohnny Hodges with Duke Ellington1940
Krazy CapersBenny Carter with Chocolate Dandies1933
There's Squabblin'Buster Smith with Walter Page Blue Devils1929
Blue Devil BluesBuster Smith with Walter Page Blue Devils1929
Baby, Look at YouBuster Smith with Pete Johnson1939
Cherry RedBuster Smith with Pete Johnson1939
Moten SwingBuster Smith with the Eddie Durham Orchestra1940
Moten SwingCharlie Parker with Jay McShann Orchestra1940