Smith, Frank, 1932-1999
- Existence: February 22, 1932 - November 17, 1999
Frank Smith was born February 22, 1932, growing up in the neighborhood near the jazz district of 18th and Vine in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended elementary school at the Santa Monica School (later Hogan Prep Academy) and as a child was influenced by the artists who performed in the jazz venues in his area, such as Rusty Tucker. He attended R.T. Coles High School (later Lincoln Prep High School) where he played guitar with the school band and studied theory and composition with Mr. Leo Davis, the school's band instructor. At the age of 17, Smith began studying piano. Although Clyde Washington mentored him, Smith was largely self-taught.
Following high school, Frank Smith acquired his first job at the venue El Capitan and went on to form the Frank Smith Trio shortly thereafter. The Frank Smith Trio played in prominent Kansas City jazz venues such as the Playboy Club, The Alameda, The Mardi Gras, The Hyatt Regency, and City Light. Throughout his career, Smith worked with artists such as Anita O'Day, Coleman Hawkins, Miles Davis, and Clark Terry. He also wrote several jingles for Kansas City commercials. Furthermore, he toured in Tokyo, Japan, on several occasions where he grew to be a local favorite. Smith suffered a brain injury during a routine procedure in the early 1990s that he worked hard to overcome. His final performance was at the Rozzelle Court at the Nelson- Atkins art museum three weeks prior to his death on November 17, 1999.