Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Complete Roost Johnny Smith Small Group Sessions

The world of jazz in the late '40s, '50s, and early '60s was graced with one of the most talented guitar virtuosos of all time: Johnny Smith. Unless you were a budding young jazz guitarist or a lover of guitar at that time, you probably don't own or haven't heard most of the incredible recordings that this great artist produced. Mosaic Records' release of The Complete Roost Johnny Smith Small Group Sessions is exactly that.This 8-CD box set release contains 178 tracks that cover 15 original LPs and 4 ten-inch sessions in a beautiful digital format, paying due homage to the guitar virtuoso in celebration of his 80th birthday. This set fills a missing piece in the recorded history and legacy of jazz guitar. A large part of Smith's life-work is covered in this volume - and, of course, some of the greatest jazz guitar performances ever heard.The musicians appearing on the recordings are for the most part Mousey Alexander (drums), George Roumanis (bass), and Bob Pancoast on piano. Hank Jones, George Duvivier, Eddie Safranski, and Don Lamond are also featured, along with Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Paul Quinichette. Johnny Rae (vibes and percussion), another great musician, also appears on some of the cuts.Discs 1 and 2 cover some excellent recordings which offer a relaxed format and brilliant harmonic, lyrical, thematic, and humorous improvisation, fluently executed by Smith on tunes such as “Where Or When,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” “Easy to Love,” and “Have you Met Miss Jones.” Smith's stunning technique and harmonic knowledge never got in the way of his playing, which retained a feeling of simplicity in the midst of complexity: a quality that characterizes genius. The dynamic combination of jazz great saxophonist Stan Getz with Smith produced a unique sound exemplified in their classic hit, “Moonlight in Vermont.” The guitar giant always remains interesting and creative, as in the great standard “How About You,” during which Smith modulates to a different key in the midst of his solo break, embarking upon a swinging solo that only he could produce. The first and second CDs showcase his beautiful closed voice and different chordal solos - particularly on ballads like “What's New,” ”Sophisticated Lady,” and “Autumn in New York.” Johnny Smith's clean technique and beautiful single line solos can be heard in “I'll Remember April,” “Blues for Birdland,” and the burning tempo tunes “Jaguar,” ”Cherokee,” “S'Wonderful,” and a host of other great standards on these two discs. His own composition, “Walk Don't Run” (later a hit record) gives the listener an idea of what the composer's initial idea for the song might have been.Discs 3 and 4 feature more of the great jazz and pop standards in a quartet format, with the late Johnny Rae on vibes replacing piano on half of disc three. This group represented one of the best jazz guitar quartets of all time. Johnny Rae's cool and swinging interpretation of Milt Jackson's “Bags Groove” and Thelonious Monk's “Round Midnight” show the talent of this great jazz musician who was also a wonderful drummer and percussionist. Smith's solo on “Bags Groove” is one cool jazz 12 bar blues solo, pretty much summing up his single line solo style. Rae appears on nine of the ten tracks that were on the original LP, with Smith playing “Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair” as a solo piece. Disc 4 contains more of the classic quartet songs like “Body and Soul,” “East of the Sun,” and “Zing Went the Strings of my Heart,” definitely completing the four-disc group.Discs 5 and 6 are a rare addition of many great classics that time and room did not allow for in the first four discs. And luckily so, for they include many Rogers and Hammerstein favorites, like “You are Beautiful” and ”People Will Say We're in Love.” A large portion of these two CDs highlight Smith's seeming ease in pulling off a guitar trio session, which is a more difficult task, as the guitar is more exposed. Taking advantage, however, of the extra space in that setting, Smith shines brilliantly once again. Tunes such as Like “Someone in Love” and “A Foggy Day” give a good idea of what Johnny's conception of the guitar in a trio setting.Last but not least, we have disc 7 and 8, which give us an even broader view of the versatility of the guitarist. In addition to the final collection of quartet sessions that include a number of tunes featuring Hank Jones on piano - notably “Embraceable You,” “Misty,” and “Gypsy in my Soul” - there is more. We are treated to the special recordings of Johnny Smith playing solo guitar - a treat indeed ! This recording, called ”The Man with the Blue Guitar,” was recorded at the Johnny Smith Guitar Center in Colorado Springs in early 1962. He performs his own solo arrangements and adaptations of composers such as Ravel and Scrabin.The only thing that's missing in this set is the LP that Johnny did with jazz vocalist Ruth Price. This, in my opinion, was a jazz classic ranking with the noted Barney Kessel - Julie London collaboration. Ruth Price Sings with the Johnny Smith Quartet has priceless versions of “A Sleeping Bee,” “Back in Your Own Backyard,” and a lot of other good tunes. Oh well, lets consider ourselves lucky. Maybe next time.
Ken Dryden

Source :

The Complete Roost
Johnny Smith
Small Group Sessions
[Mosaic box, 8 cds]


Cd. 1

1. Where Or When (Rodgers, Hart) 2:24
2. Tabu (Stillman, Russell, Lecuona) 2:39
3. Moonlight In Vermont (Suessdorf, Blackburn) 3:13
4. Jaguar (Smith) 2:31
5. Jaguar (alternate version) (Smith) 2:27
6. (I Don't Stand A) Ghost Of A Chance With You (Crosby, Washington, Young) 3:08
7. Vilia (Franz Lehar) 2:40
8. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers, Hart) 2:37
9. Sometimes I'm Happy (Youmans, Caesar) 2:17
10. Stars Fell On Alabama (Parish, Perkins) 3:02
11. Nice Work If You Can Get It (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:23
12. Tenderly (Lawrence, Plante, Gross) 3:24
13. Yesterdays (Kern, Harbach) 2:50
14. Cavu (Smith) 2:12
15. I'll Be Around (Wilder) 2:44
16. Cherokee (Noble) 2:47
17. Ramona (Gilbert, Wayne) 2:20
18. The Terry Theme From Limelight (Chaplin) 3:13
19. Lullaby Of Birdland (hearing) 3:03
20. My One And Only Love (Wood, Mellin) 2:28
21. Stranger in Paradise (Wright, Forrest) 2:36
22. Our Love Is Here To Stay (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:16
23. 'S Wonderful (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:23
24. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington) 2:31



Cd. 2

1. What’s New (B.Haggart, Burke) 3:04
2. I’ll Remember April (Raye, DePaul, Johnson) 2:46
3. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington, Parish) 3:01
4. Easy To Love (Porter) 3:14
5. Autumn In New York (Vernon Duke) 2:42
6. Walk, Don’t Run ! (Smith) 2:46
7. Lover Man (Davis, Ramirez, Sherman) 2:25
8. Someone To Watch Over Me (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:14
9. How About You ? (Freed, Lane) 2:43
10. Dancing On The Ceiling (Rodgers, Hart) 2:56
11. Blues For Birdland (Smith) 2:37
12. Have You Met Miss Jones ? (Rodgers, Hart) 2:31
13. But Beautiful (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:49
14. Swinging On A Star (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:35
15. I Could Have Told You (C. Sigman, Van Heusen) 2:49
16. It Could Happen To You (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:09
17. Oh You Crazy Moon (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:32
18. I Thought About You (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:10
19. Deep In A Dream (De Lange, Van Heusen) 2:49
20. So Help Me (De Lange, Van Heusen) 2:49
21. Nancy (With The Laughing Face) (P. Silvers, Van Heusen) 3:17
22. Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:42
23. Darn That Dream (De Lange, Van Heusen) 3:27
24. Imagination (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:34


Cd. 3

1. Django (Lewis) 5:02
2. Wait Till You See Her (Rodgers, Hart) 2:15
3. 0500 Blues (Smith) 3:45
4. More Bass (Roumanis) 2:28
5. Un Poco Loco (Powell) 4:25
6. Easy Living (Rainger, Robin) 3:16
7. Old Girl (George Roumanis) 3:52
8. Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart) 2:47
9. Tired Blood (Smith) 4:16
10. Spring Is Here (Rodgers, Hart) 2:44
11. It Never Entered My Mind (Rodgers, Hart) 2:31
12. Samba (Smith) 2:49
13. Black Is The Color (Of My True Love's Hair) (Adapted by Smith) 2:04
14. Pawn Ticket (Bryant) 7:07
15. 'S Wonderful (Gershwin, Gershwin) 4:59
16. You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To (Porter) 2:08
17. Blue Lights (Basheer Qusim) 4:11
18. Montage (Smith) 4:59
19. Bags' Groove (Jackson) 3:18
20. ‘Round Midnight (Monk, Hanighen, Williams) 3:42


Cd. 4

1. Hello, Young Lovers (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 4:34
2. Love For Sale (Porter) 3:54
3. The Maid With The Flaxen Hair (Debussy, adapted by Smith) 2:00
4. Love Letters (Heyman, Young) 2:12
5. Tickle Toe (Young) 2:47
6. Goodbye (Jenkins) 2:18
7. Body And Soul (Green, Heyman, Eyton, Sour) 3:20
8. Lover (Rodgers, Hart) 3:22
9. The Boy Next Door (Martin, Blane) 2:35
10. Potter’s Luck (Silver) 3:37
11. Autumn Nocturne (Myron, Gannon) 2:07
12. Band Aid (Freeman) 3:03
13. Angel Eyes (Dennis, Brent) 4:11
14. Deep Night (Vallee, Henderson) 4:00
15. These Foolish Things (Strachey, Marvell, Link) 3:30
16. East Of The Sun (Bowman) 3:09
17. There’s A Small Hotel (Rodgers, Hart) 4:12
18. Laura (Raksin, Mercer) 2:31
19. Tea For Two (Youmans, Caesar) 4:39
20. You Go To My Head (Coots, Gillespie) 4:30
21. I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You (Washington, Bassman) 5:08
22. Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart (Hanley) 5:53


Cd. 5

1. Swingin' Shepherd Blues (Koffman) 2:33
2. Lullaby Of Birdland (George Shearing) 2:05
3. You Are Beautiful (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 3:53
4. I Enjoy Being A Girl (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 3:47
5. Sunday (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:32
6. A Hundred Million Miracles (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:36
7. Grant Avenue (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:27
8. Love Look Away (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 3:31
9. Like A God (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 4:03
10. Finale (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 7:13
11. When I Fall In Love (Albert Selden) 2:45
12. It Might As Well Be Spring (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:47
13. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (Rodgers, Hart) 2:20
14. Black Is The Color (Of My True Love's Hair) (Adapted by Smith) 2:30
15. Like Someone In Love (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:35
16. You Don’t Know What Love Is (Raye, DePaul) 2:42
17. Isn’t It Romantic (Rodgers, Hart) 2:52
18. I Remember The Corn Fields (Mayne, Ralton) 2:05
19. A Foggy Day (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:59
20. Scarlet Ribbons (Danzig, Segal) 2:42
21. People Will Say We’re In Love (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:53
22. The Nearness Of You (Carmichael, Washington) 2:32


Cd. 6

1. Moonlight In Vermont (Suessdorf, Blackburn) 2:33
2. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers, Hart) 3:20
3. Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart) 2:50
4. My One And Only Love (Wood, Mellin) 2:43
5. Jimmy Van Heusen Medley :
Darn That Dream (De Lange, Van Heusen)/Polka Dots and Moonbeams (De Lange, Van Heusen) 4:05
6. Satin Doll (Ellington, Strayhorn) 2:54
7. Blues Backstage (Foster) 3:55
8. Everything Happens To Me (Adair, Dennis) 3:21
9. Pavane (Maurice Ravel) 1:30
10. Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronnell) 6:04
11. Vilia (Franz Lehar) 3:42
12. Fools Rush In (R. Bloom, Mercer) 2:36
13. I Remember Clifford (Benny Golson) 4:05
14. The Lady Is A Tramp (Rodgers, Hart) 2:46
15. There Will Never Be Another You (Warren, Gordon) 3:07
16. Autumn Leaves (Mercer, Prevert, Kosma) 4:02
17. Mood Indigo (Ellington, Bigard) 2:50
18. Sentimental Journey (Brown, Homer, Green) 3:18
19. Three Little Words (Ruby, Kalmer) 2:16
20. My Romance (Rodgers, Hart) 2:28
21. Sometimes I’m Happy (Youmans, Caesar) 3:43
22. I’ll Take Romance (Oakland, Hammerstein) 3:03
23. Song For Jimmy Atkins (Smith) 3:39


Cd. 7

1. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) (Ellington, Webster) 2:39
2. Let's Fall In Love (Koehler, Arlen) 2:17
3. I Can't Get Started (Duke, Gershwin) 4:56
4. Some Of These Days (Brooks) 2:26
5. You Took Advantage Of Me (Rodgers, Hart) 2:08
6. Over The Rainbow (Harburg, Arlen) 2:26
7. Out Of Nowhere (Heyman, Green) 3:34
8. Prelude To A Kiss (Ellington, Mills, Gordon) 3:30
9. Un Poco Loco (Powell) 3:30
10. Hippo, The Sentimental Hippy (Roumanis, Messner) 2:58
11. It's You Or No One (Cahn, Styne) 2:56
12. Come Rain or Come Shine (Mercer, Arlen) 4:42
13. Gypsy In My Soul (Boland, Jaffe) 3:17
14. Embraceable You (Gershwin, Gershwin) 4:51
15. Misty (Garner, Burke) 5:26
16, As Long As There’s Music (Cahn, Styne) 4:02
17. ‘Round Midnight (Monk, Williams, Hanighen) 4:26
18. This Can’t Be Love (Rodgers, Hart) 3:18
19. Blues Chorale (La Porta) 3:54
20. Prelude (Scriabin, adapted by Smith) 1:24


Cd. 8

1. My Romance (Rodgers, Hart) 2:11
2. Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart) 2:32
3. Pavane (Maurice Ravel) 1:32
4. Prelude (Scriabin, adapted by Smith) 1:30
5. Black Is The Color (Of My True Love's Hair) (Adapted by Smith) 2:44
6. Wait Till You See Her (Rodgers, Hart) 2:04
7. The Maid With The Flaxen Hair (Claude Debussy, adapted by Smith) 2:56
8. Shenandoah (Adapted by Smith) 2:27
9. Green Leaves Of Summer (Tiomkin, Webster) 2:49
10. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers, Hart) 3:13
11. Dancing In The Dark (Dietz, Schwartz) 2:37
12. Old Folks (Robison, Hill) 2:32
13. I Loves You Porgy (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:27
14. Soon (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:21
15. There’ll Be Other Times (McPartland) 4:32
16. Satin’s Doll (Smith) 5:04
17. I’m Old Fashioned (Kern, Mercer) 1:54
18. I Remember You (Mercer, V. Schertzinger) 2:47
19. Fitz (Roland) 4:28
20. Li'l Darlin’ (Hefti) 3:55
21. Time After Time (Styne, Cahn) 3:30
22. You Are Too Beautiful (Rodgers, Hart) 3:47
23. Sweet and Lovely (Arnheim, Tobins, Lemare) 3:29


Feat. Johnny Smith, Stan Getz, Hank Jones, George Duvivier, Ed Shaughnessy, Bob Pancoast, George Roumanis, Mousey Alexander, Nobby Totah, Jerry Segal, Perry Lopez, Arnold Fishkin, Don Lamond, Joe Mooney, Eddie Safranski, Sanford Gold, Bob Carter, Morey Feld, etc...

Recorded between March 11, 1952 & 1964


Baby Breeze said...

WOW! C'est tres magnifique!

Arc said...

An excellent collection. Thank you.

hulaboy said...

Many thanks for this generous share! About 25 years ago I invited Mr. Smith onto my radio show. He said, "Oh, I don't know how good an interview I'd be -- I've never been arrested." (It went fine, and he was a delightful, forthcoming guest.)

rowgatien said...

Merci! A marvelous showcase of guitar.

Foth said...

Thanks for this incredible collection.

Melanchthon said...


Tibau said...

Amazing.!!! Thanks.!!

Luis said...

Thanks Mel one more time.
If interested the full info on personnel and dates for each session was taken from the accompanying images and was compiled in a very small text file available at

Luis said...

Thanks, Peer.

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you Mel!

reindeer man said...

Thanks, Mel, for this Johnny Smith collection. And thanks to Luis for the personnel info text file.

Pet said...

I already thanked for this set elsewhere, but now, having listened to it is turning out to be a major revelation to me. For some time I wanted to hear more J. Smith than what was readily available but this set is surpassing my expectations which were quite big as they were. What I was looking for in Django Reinhardt for instance, but could never quite find, Smith just delivers track after track, album after album. IT now seems like Smith will be my all time favorite jazz musician... I suppose I could write an article of all my feelings but this obviously is not quite the place. Maybe I should write a letter to Smith... Thanks, Melanchthon, for this magnificent site.

Jerry Cornelius said...

Many thanks for this wonderful set. Unfortunately, the file for the eight disc is not available anymore. Would you be able to re-upload it, please? I would be very grateful indeed if you could. Thanks for a great blog.

Jerry Cornelius said...

Disc 8 now works - many thanks!

A R Beninger said...

Is there a password for extracting the files? my program is demanding one.

RJ said...

unfortunately the files seem broken or corrupted... can´t open any of the files... hope to find a re-upload of this lovely artist and music

stringbender said...

Thanks so much for this amazing post!

Anonymous said...

Can you update the Johnny Smith recordings such as this one?
I'd be very grateful.
Thanks. I love your Jazz guitar postings.
Greetings from India.

gym said...

Would really love to get this one! Can you please repost?

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for sharing this wonderful music. However, there appears to be a problem with some of the booklet and LP cover scans in the Artwork archive. I get an error message "Wrong Password". Can you please check?

Adam said...

Just downloaded on October 13th with no problems. Listening right now. Password is in the right column. Get it together people.

Anonymous said...

Rixboy wishes to thank Mel for this wonderful post of The Great Johnny Smith Collection......this was so much hard work for you, but also such magic for all of your blogs followers. Much appreciated Mel. Cheers, Rixboy

anon'n'on said...

here;s a reup from rutracker in mp3 good for a week