Friday, July 21, 2017

Johnny Smith - Moonlight in Vermont

This may be the greatest "forgotten" jazz album of its time. "Moonlight In Vermont" was originally released as the B side of a single in '52. Its lush, gorgeous, laid back groove — caressed into life by Smith and Stan Getz — made it an immediate radio hit and it was voted Jazz Record Of The Year by Downbeat.
Over subsequent decades, "Moonlight In Vermont" and the eponymous album to which it gave birth (originally two 10" issues titled Jazz At NBC ) have gradually faded from view : Smith, a studio musician at NBC and regular performer at Birdland for much of the Fifties, more or less retired from performance in the early Sixties and his work has since been out of catalogue more often than it has been in.
An uncannily symmetrical 52 years after its first release, Moonlight In Vermont must now be a strong contender for Jazz Reissue Of The Year. The sixteen tracks, recorded between March '52 and August '53, include the original eight with Getz and a further eight with Getz replaced by either Zoot Sims or Paul Quinchette. The music is meticulously arranged, the harmonic development rich and sophisticated, and the performances, particularly those of Smith, Getz and the "first choice" rhythm section of Gold, Safranski and Lamond, technically awesome; the up-tempo unison passages by Smith and Getz especially are jawdroppingly masterful.
Yet Smith never uses technique for its own sake. Throughout, his rapid fire single note runs (every bit as jetspeed as Tal Farlow's, but more sparingly used) and innovative chordal theme statements and solos (truly harmolodic inventions) are just — there's no other word — heavenly. Like the title track, much of the album is lush, gorgeous and laid back, but there is plenty of fire and energy here too.
Still, gloriously and evocatively, in the original mono, the album has been lovingly remastered in 24-bit by Malcolm Addey. If you like Django, Charlie Christian and/or Wes Montgomery, do yourself an immense favour and check it out.
Kinda Interesting Factoid : Somewhat unexpectedly, Johnny Smith is the composer of "Walk Don't Run," that massive, twanging, primeval rock 'n' roll hit for the Ventures in '60. The royalties allowed Smith to relocate from NYC to bucolic Colorado. His lifestyle gain perhaps, but our listening loss for sure.
Chris May

Source :

Johnny Smith
Moonlight in Vermont


1 Where or When (Hart, Rodgers)  2:28
2 Tabu (Lecuona, Russell, Stillman)  2:42
3 Moonlight in Vermont (Blackburn, Suessdorf)  3:16
4 Jaguar (Smith)  2:34
5 Sometimes I'm Happy (Grey, Robin, Youmans)  2:20
6 Stars Fell on Alabama (Parish, Perkins)  3:06
7 Nice Work If You Can Get It (Gershwin, Gershwin)  2:27
8 Tenderly (Gross, Lawrence)  3:27
9 Jaguar [alt.] (Smith)  2:30
10 I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You (Crosby, Washington, Young)  3:11
11 Vilia (Lehar)  2:43
12 My Funny Valentine (Hart, Rodgers)  2:40
13 Yesterdays (Harbach, Kern)  2:53
14 Cavu (Smith)  2:15
15 I'll Be Around (Wilder)  2:48
16 Cherokee (Noble)  2:47


[# 1-4]
Johnny Smith - g
Stan Getz - ts
Sanford Gold - p
Eddie Safranski - b
Don Lamond - dr
Recorded in New York City ; March 11, 1952
[# 9-12]
Same as above, except
Zoot Sims - ts, replaces Getz
Recorded in New York City ; April 1952
[# 5-8]
Johnny Smith - g
Stan Getz - ts
Sanford Gold - p
Bob Carter - b
Morey Feld - dr
Recorded in New York City ; November 1952
[# 13-16]
Johnny Smith - g
Paul Quinichette - ts
Sanford Gold - p
Arnold Fishkin - b
Don Lamond - dr
Recorded in New York City ; August 1953


Melanchthon said...

charlie said...

Thanks Mel. Great tunes and great musicians.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

deGallo said...

Thank you.

Fourcade said...

Thanks so much! It's great to find these treasures, and your
diligence makes it possible! Cheers Daniel, from Spain...

Jazz Padd said...

Thanks for this classic record!

sep troelstra said...

Many thanks!!

Malaspina said...

Thanks Mel.Much appreciated.

flyra said...

I'm overjoyed to have you back! You almost gave me a heart attack!

jazzfan1 said...

Welcome back. As one of your many fans, I missed you during that hiatus.

Still hoping for some of the harder-toifind Bernard Peiffer albums:

Piano A La Mood, The Astounding Bernard Peiffer
Bernard Peiffer The Pied Peiffer Of The Piano

Betty Glamann Swinging on a Harp

Blue Eyes said...

Fantastic, thanks a lot Mel for this new Japanese release!

Sic Vos Non Vorbis" sit mihi lux. ;)

shouse59 said...

Merci Beaucoup.

shouse59 said...

Merci Beaucoup

cvllos said...

It's a nice gift for an expected return; thanks too much Melanchthon. May God bless you & fam.

lowgroove said...

A great recording. Thank you

Pete said...

Many thanks Mel!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful album.
Any more Johnny Smith would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you and welcome back!

Enzo Zanin said...

Wow !!!
This album is fantastic.
Thank you very much

Dubley said...

Great stuff, mamy thanks.

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thanks a lot great Mel!

MAB said...

Thanks Mel!!!

Kovina Kris said...

Excellent post!