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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / The Unparalleled Johnny Smith

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 10th, 2017 03:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

There are/were many great jazz guitarists, obviously, but none could surpass Johnny Smith that is for sure. His knowledge of theory and ability to play just about anything on the guitar gave him the ability to sound like an orchestra on the guitar.

Probably my favorite solo guitar version of Shenandoah here(from which I am only a couple miles away from here)


Shenandoah

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 10th, 2017 03:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Some bio info here that I found interesting.

Johnny Smith Bio

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 10th, 2017 03:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

And this amazing adaptation for guitar of Debussy's "La fille aux cheveux de lin"

The great Wes Montgomery had this to say of Johnny Smith:

“Man, I can never be that perfect. No one plays like Johnny Smith.”

And Barney Kessel:

“An extraordinary virtuoso. As far as I'm concerned, no one in the world plays the guitar better than he. They might play it differently, but nobody plays better.”

La fille aux cheveux de lin

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Sep 10th, 2017 03:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

As most of you probably know, he was also the composer of "Walk Don't Run", made famous by the Ventures.

My personal favorite Johnny Smith...

...cut.

jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Sep 10th, 2017 04:06 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm a HUGE fan and have all of his records Yeah, he's probably the most 'perfect', but Wes Montgomery is the king of modern jazz guitar.


Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 10th, 2017 04:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"As most of you probably know, he was also the composer of "Walk Don't Run", made famous by the Ventures."


Yes indeed! My teacher Rick played the Mobile festival and met Johnny there and asked him if he wrote that tune and he said" yea yea I wrote that damn thing" lol.

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 10th, 2017 04:28 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"I'm a HUGE fan and have all of his records Yeah, he's probably the most 'perfect', but Wes Montgomery is the king of modern jazz guitar."

Could you attempt to elaborate on this? I love Wes and I have heard this before but sometimes struggle to understand it. His compositions are fantastic though.




Taildragger
Contributing Member
*********

USA

"toxic masculinity personified"
Sep 10th, 2017 04:55 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

He had Gibson AND Guild sig models, back before every Tom, Dick & Harry got one. Somewhere, I've got an old, late '60s Gibson archtop brochure with the Gibby JS Sig in it.

JS Sigs:

jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Sep 10th, 2017 05:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Smith used a lot of closed voicing and harmonies and employed uber difficult finger stretches in chords, that are unmatched even today.

(This message was last edited by jazzguy at 07:54 PM, Sep 10th, 2017)

jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Sep 10th, 2017 05:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Could you attempt to elaborate on this? I love Wes and I have heard this before but sometimes struggle to understand it. His compositions are fantastic though."

A lot of Smith's playing are things that were worked out in advance. Many tunes he played he played nearly the same every time. But Wes was a true improviser and played different each time he played a tune.
Smith was one of the greatest guitarists ever, but Wes was probably the greatest jazz guitarist.

Love 'em both though!


jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Sep 10th, 2017 05:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Btw, Smith was also an outstanding trumpet player.

(This message was last edited by jazzguy at 07:52 PM, Sep 10th, 2017)

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 10th, 2017 06:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I do indeed love Smith's closed voicings and stretches. I've transcribed most of Shenandoah, but it doesn't use quite as much of that stretching as his other stuff. Amazing, though.

Very interesting take on the two players. Thanks for that!

Had no idea he could play trumpet!

jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Sep 10th, 2017 07:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you dig Smith check out his book by Lynn Flanagan, a good read and you'll find Smith was more than just a guitar and trumpet player.

A state fiddle champion for example.

Here's his obit that gives a brief synopsis of his career. I hesitate to use the genius term in describing musicians but he was just a giant

J.S.

(This message was last edited by jazzguy at 09:40 PM, Sep 10th, 2017)

jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Sep 10th, 2017 07:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

no Johnny Smith thread can be complete w/out mention of his groundbreaking '52 recording of Moonlight in Vermont w Stan Getz. I've heard a zillion times and just now again and well, still can't believe how incredible it is.

3 and a half minutes of wow

clf
Contributing Member
**********
***

Santa Barbara, CA

Je Suis Charlie
Sep 11th, 2017 12:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Many years ago I purchased the Mosaic CD set: "The Complete Roost Johnny Smith Small Group Sessions." Absolutely wonderful guitar player. I remember listening through the complete set over a month of weekends. I've got to give it another listen.

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 13th, 2017 08:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Interesting! I will check that out!

I've been privy to some neat little stories from Rick's run in's with him.

That album is great and is one that I wish had been recorded better or with modern equipment. It's so great but so cloudy at the same time... I like old analog sounds but that one is a little much. Of course, this could be a case of mastering to digital. I have the CD version of Chet Atkins Christmas, and it sounds like utter garbage compared to the original 50s LP I have here. Not even close. Amazing sounding record from RCA then. The masters were just not in good shape I am guessing, and the job was done poorly.

Rick Knight
Contributing Member
**********
********

St Peters, MO USA

Standing in the back, by the drummer.
Sep 14th, 2017 07:00 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Today I learned about a new to me Jazz guitarist and, with a quick search, what closed voicing means, all before finishing my second cup of coffee.

FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / The Unparalleled Johnny Smith




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