Saturday, December 17, 2016

Johnny Smith - Favorites

Johnny Smith once said of himself that he wasn’t a jazz guitarist. Don’t you believe it for one minute! Ever the humble, reserved home-body, Smith did as much as any great artist to help define the role and capability of the electric archtop as it is used in jazz performance, especially with regard to sophistication and refinement in technique.
In the 50’s (still very early in modern electric jazz guitar evolution), Smith helped define a rather new genre of jazz guitar that was rooted in the reserved style of the ‘cool’ jazz school, but that displayed highly refined, almost classical guitar technique and virtuosity. The mastery he has displayed over his career is characterized by clear articulation, close voicings in chord-melody work, virtuosic runs that can cover the neck, and highly compositional improvisations. We could almost call his music “chamber jazz” in that most of his recordings are with a small group, are tightly arranged, often in parts, are emotionally reserved, but that demonstrate dazzling technical mastery with healthy sprinklings of classical references.
Smith’s important place in the annals of guitar history is now well established. His history is highlighted by many successful small group recordings (of which the Moonlight in Vermont/Stan Getz recording brought him to fame in 1952), the composition "Walk, Don’t Run" (which later became a Ventures pop tune), several guitar poll prizes with DownBeat and Metronome magazines in the 50’s, and a slew of signature models from the leading guitar makers. His playing may lack the ‘edge’ and ‘grit’ of a Wes Montgomery or Grant Green, but he certainly makes up for that by having a unique and instantly recognizeable ‘voice’ that is other-worldly in its sophistication and virtuoso style. “Johnny Smith style” is now almost synonymous with smooth virtuosic technique and use of a single floating pickup on an archtop...
Jim Bastian

Source :

Johnny Smith


1 Moonlight In Vermont (Suessdorf, Blackburn)  2:37
2 My Funny Valentine (Rodgers, Hart)  3:23
3 Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart)  2:54
4 My One And Only Love (Wood, Mellin)  2:46
5 Jimmy Van Heusen Medley  4:09
Darn That Dream (De Lange, Van Heusen)
Polka Dots and Moonbeams (De Lange, Van Heusen)
6 Satin Doll (Ellington, Strayhorn, Mercer)  2:57
7 Blues Backstage (Smith)  3:58
8 Everything Happens To Me (Adair, Dennis)  3:24
9 Pavane (Ravel)  1:32
10 Willow Weep For Me (Ronnell)  6:05


Johnny Smith - g
George Roumanis - b
Mousey Alexander - dr

Recorded at Penthouse Sound, New York ; May 20, 1959


Melanchthon said...

deGallo said...

Thank you.

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Great post! thank you very much Mel

Fourcade said...

@ Melanchthon: I don't comment frequently, but just let you know
I admire your blog and your effort immensely. Great taste in jazz,
and specially in classical music! Real nuggets always.
Cheers Daniel, from Spain... and merçi beaucoup!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much

Fred Archtop said...

Once again a wonderful post. Thanks for your generosity Mel.

Mikel Hal said...

Moltes gracies

Anonymous said...

Wonderful music, thanks MM!

sep troelstra said...

Thanks a lot!!

migue said...

muchas gracias!!!!! increible!!!!!!!

Prof. Yaffle said...

Many thanks

Otis Foster said...

Wonderful. I didn't know about tis release. Thnx melanchthon and best wishes for a happy and peaceful holiday

MAB said...

Thanks! Johnny Smith is always amazing!

Kovina Kris said...

Lovely. Thank you Mel!

Anonymous said...

Great job, but link are down...