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by Dom Minasi
On June 11, 2013, guitarist Johnny Smith passed away. He was 90 years old. Some may have never heard of him, but in the world of jazz guitar he was legend. There will be many articles written about him. Besides the historical content of his accomplishments, I want to write about what he meant to me on a personal level and the thousands of other guitarists throughout the world. I was 14 years old when I ...read more
by Mike Neely
A half-century after Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and Bud Powell made names for themselves in the world of jazz, it is more than likely that if these three giants somehow returned to play in New York City they would still be at the very top of the heap among their fellow musicians. A similar claim could be made for another musician, Johnny Smith, who is barely known except among jazz guitar aficionados.
Smith played most of his professional ...read more
by Michael P. Gladstone
Take a guess as to which famous musician guitarist/vocalist Johnny Smith is related to. If you opted for guitar jazz legend Johnny Smith, as some might, you were wrong. Smith's uncle and aunt are Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett of rock music fame, who were a significant act circa 1970 with such hits as Only You Know & I Know," Never Ending Song Of Love" and Soul Shake."
As advertised, Johnny Smith is a self-taught guitarist who sings and ...read more
by Chris May
Woefully obscure and unlauded today, Johnny Smith's early '50s recordings make him as important to the development of jazz guitar as his contemporaries Stan Getz and Al Haig are to the history of the tenor saxophone and the piano. Johnny who?
For a very short while, Smith was a star. His '52 single Moonlight In Vermont," featuring Getz, came out of nowhere--Smith was then an anonymous staff musician at NBC, New York--to become a massive coast-to-coast US radio ...read more
by Chris May
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 ...read more
by AAJ Staff
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 ...read more