Pianist Derek Smith dies at 85

Derek Smith
DEREK SMITH

DEREK SMITH, 85, on Aug. 21 in New York City. Born in London, his first professional gig was at age 14 when someone rolled a piano out into the street, and he played for the VE Day celebration in 1945.

As part of the U.K. jazz scene in the early 1950s, he regularly played with John Dankworth, Kenny Graham and Kenny Baker before emigrating to the United States where he became a much-in-demand session musician with studio orchestras. He later worked with Benny Goodman, Connie Kay, Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show band and in a trio with Milt Hinton and Bobby Rosengarden.

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