About Stuff Smith

Arlene (Danzig) Smith (Stuff Smith’s wife)
1996 Interview for Jazz Violin: Jazz Profiles NPR Series (hosted by Nancy Wilson)

While performing in Minnesota, I had the incredible opportunity to meet and interview Stuff Smith’s fourth wife, Arlene. She was extremely honest about her life with Stuff—from their romantic meeting and all-night parties on through to how his alcoholism forced her to end their marriage: She could not bear to see him drinking himself to death. During the Billy Taylor interview, Billy stated that it was his opinion that racism—the lack of respect and opportunity as compared to the treatment extended to white jazz violinist Joe Venuti, that drove him to depression and drinking.

See interview with Stuff’s biographer, Anthony Barnett, below.

Jazz violinist Stuff Smith’s wife, Arlene Smith:


Anthony Barnett

Anthony Barnett has conducted interviews and collected and restored audio for decades. His contributions to the preservation of jazz violin archives—in particular for the work of Stuff Smith—exceeds that of anyone I know. You can learn more about his research and restored recordings at on his website.

  1. Barnett re Stuff Smith Contributions

2. Barnett re Stuff Played Like Horn Player

3. Barnett re Stuff Smith & Bebop

4. Barnett re Bebop and Jazz Violin

5. Barnett re Stuff and Other Jazz Violinists

6. Barnett re Stuff and Eva

7. Barnett re Jazz Violinist Ginger Smock