Thursday, September 1, 2016

Johnny Smith and His New Quartet

Before he threw in the towel and willingly walked away from the clutches of the recording industry in 1960, Johnny Smith recorded an impressive roster of albums for Teddy Reig's Roost label. One of these, The New Johnny Smith Quartet, recorded in 1956, was billed as maiden set for Smith's new, small group. That was almost correct. This was the first time around for vibes player Johnny Rae and drummer John Lee. But bass player George Roumanis had already recorded with Smith. Prior to his Smith tenure, Rae was instrumental in shaping the distinctive George Shearing Quintet sound. This bandleader was especially well known for tasteful playing, the clean quality of his sound, and his skillful voicing of melody with chords. And this album does nothing to detract from that reputation. Even on the up-tempo pieces like "Pawn Ticket" and "'S Wonderful" Smith's technique remains clean without slurring. His playing also can take on classical overtones, like on "Montage" and "It Never Entered My Mind." Smith was not a stranger to the classical genre. His last minute abduction by conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos to play solo guitar on Arnold Schoenberg's "Serenade" is one of music's legends. On the slower numbers this quartet resembles the stentorian sounds of the Modern Jazz Quartet at times. Johnny Smith left behind about 25 LPs with the Roost label. A great project for Mosaic Records would be to get a license for these albums for one of their excellent compilations, this time featuring the fine guitar of Johnny Smith.
Dave Nathan

Source :

Johnny Smith
The New Quartet


1 It Never Entered My Mind (Hart, Rodgers)  2:31
2 Samba (Smith)  2:49
3 Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair (Trad.)  1:50
4 Pawn Ticket (Bryant)  7:07
5 'S Wonderful (Gershwin, Gershwin)  5:00
6 You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To (Porter)  2:08
7 Blues Lights (Gryce)  4:11
8 Montage (Smith)  4:55
9 Bags' Groove (Jackson)  3:30
10 'Round Midnight (Hanighen, Monk, Williams)  3:42


Johnny Smith - g
Johnny Rae - vbs & bg [# 1]
George Roumanis - b
Johnny Lee - dr

Recorded at Bell Sound, New York ; October 24, 1956


Melanchthon said...

Karl K said...

Merci! A thousand Merci's for this excellent album, Mel. I can't wait to crank it up on my system at home!

Peter said...

Dear Melanchthon,

thank you very much for this interesting record.

Prof. Yaffle said...

Many thanks

george said...

Many thanks, Mel!

deGallo said...

Marvelous! Thank you.

Larry said...

Thank you very much!

Chesco said...

Maravilloso. Una joya. Muchas gracias desde Sant Boi, España.

Saludos cordiales.


kristophermc28 said...

Thanks Mel!

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Great post, thanks Mel

Blue Eyes said...

Banzai! super, thank you very much Mel for this 2016 Japanese release!

wightdj said...

Cool, thanks.

Otis Foster said...

Nice sound upgrade for a great artist.

Thnx melanchthon

Geoviki said...

You share the best guitar music, thank you.

Zape said...

Thank you Mel! It sounds great.

Carlos Tibau said...


Axel.T. said...

Looks like a great post with really solid players. Interesting history though.
Thanks, Mel,

Kovina Kris said...

Have this as part of a box but you can't go wrong with Johnny Smith.

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You