Willie "the Lion" Smith - Paul Studer 1950s Jazz Photos
Willie "the Lion" Smith
Paul Studer first met Willie “the Lion” Smith at a jazz event at the Overseas Press Club and they formed a close friendship. Studer attended Smith's concerts at Central Plaza and he often visited Smith in his home. Smith invited Studer and his girlfriend Jeann "Roni" Failows to accompany him, Duke Ellington, and other prominent musicians to a jazz festival in Connecticut. Studer greatly enjoyed this friendship. On occasion he had the honor and privilege of jamming with Smith on the clarinet. Smith gave him copies of sheet music he composed, and Studer has them to this day. Studer remembers Smith as a friendly, cheerful, and humorous man who loved classical music.