Freeport composer Hale Smith's inspiration lives on

Smith broke barriers as one of the first African-American composers to write both classical and jazz music.

Smith broke barriers as one of the first African-American composers to write both classical and jazz music. (2/4/13)

FREEPORT - Native Long Islander and renowned composer Hale Smith's influence is alive and well years after his death.

Smith, of Freeport, broke racial barriers as one of the first African-American composers to write both classical and jazz music. Known for his eclectic sound, Smith, who first composed at the age of 7, won critical acclaim for several pieces, including the film score for "Mr. Ricco."

He served as an arranger for and consultant to Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Jessye Norman, and taught music composition at C.W. Post from 1958 to 1970. In his lectures, he urged young black adults to resist social pigeonholes, confident that one's music would speak louder than race. 

A compilation of Smith's work, "Music of Hale Smith, " was released in 2000.

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