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Willie Smith: Willie the Lion

The career of Willie “The Lion” Smith has been well documented. Never shy about stating his opinions, Smith made several records on which his spoken recollections figure as prominently as his piano tickling, and he wrote a very readable autobiography. But even longtime admirers will learn from this documentary, which tracks the Lion from his early times in Newark to the salad days of the Harlem Renaissance through the leaner postwar years to the revived interest he received later in life.

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