Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My good friend Sam Smith

I just received notice from Chris Grasso that the fabulous vocalist and my good friend Sam Smith passed away early this morning. Sam was an exceptional vocalist, blending R&B into jazz singing. Always at ease, always relaxed, he delivered showstopping phrases that only he could pull it off, and he never interpreted the same song twice. There was always something refreshing/original about his singing, not to mention his "larger than life" lung capacity. Sam was an easy-going person: humble, polite, always smiling and telling jokes. He was one of the reasons why I frequented Henley Park. And he would always get me up to do a few songs with him.

I'm sure Sam's death is going to make many of us temporarily philosophers. Cliches aside, I'd like to take this chance to voice something I've always wanted to say. Sam was a great musician and he could sing his ass off, yet he remained a humble cat. The same with people like Herbie Hancock, Lewis Nash, Ray Brown, Dr. Lonnie Smith. These world-class musicians have no attitude and they embrace the world like they have always done. Music was only a means to an end to them, not an end in itself. And some of these people were even pioneers of this music. Yet, there are some local jazz and blues musicians who behave like they are 1000's of Billie Holidays and B.B. Kings and think that they're the next coming of Christ. Shame on you! Shame on all of you! Sam Smith's humble and carefree attitude will always remain my example.

This is from Sam's sister:
"He is up in Heaven now with our Mother and my daughter, Sam past away early this Tuesday morning around 1:30am Oct 11, 2005, he was in no pain and died in peace and love from all his family and friends here in Seattle, he had a great last two weeks here and laugh and joke and up till the time, he stop eating and talking, which was around last Thursday or Friday, he only ate a little on Saturday and talk with the Aide nurse that he jokes around with.

Family is glad he did not have to suffer - God took him away us - but he will always be in our hearts and I can just hear him Singing now.

Keep in touch and I try to tell you about - when the body can be review and the Memorial Service I have choosen Saturday Oct 22 around 1:00pm at 16th & fir, same church we all grew up in, same as where our mom and my daughter service was. Lets come and celebrate his Life on that day.

Sister Margaret and Brother Calvin Smith"

Sam, may God rest you in peace. You're an angel and you always will be.

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