All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

183

Johnny Smith with Friends Mark Holzinger and Chris Justin: San Francisco Bay Jazz

By

Sign in to view read count
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 plays the harmonica with his two musical associates, guitarist Mark Holzinger and bassist Chris Justin. Although Smith recorded an earlier album, Just A Man (Napa Rain Publishing, 2002), this is his first venture into the Great American Songbook and other tunes.

The nature of many of the songs and the instrumentation of the group is similar to that of the John Pizzarelli trio, but there are some major differences. Smith seems very comfortable with the material, but is the material comfortable with him? Insofar as vocals are concerned, classic titles like Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin," Burton Lane's "Old Devil Moon" and Bart Howard's "Fly Me to the Moon" are usually favored by crooners or belters. Johnny Smith's interpretation of them is relies on a relaxed but sometimes gruff delivery that detracts from our preconceived notions of how these songs ought to sound.

Even more indicative is Johnny Smith's preference for the blues. On songs like his vocal version of the Joe Zawinul jazz classic "Mercy Mercy Mercy," featuring the Larry Williams/Johnny Watson lyrics, he fits in perfectly. Likewise, a unique version of the Miles Davis standard "All Blues" is treated as just that... a harmonica country blues version with original lyrics by Jess Raphael. Smith thrives on the shuffle tempo of the Louis Jordan piece "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't (Ma' Baby)," delivering it in a comfortable manner. Other jazz material covered on this album includes Horace Silver's "Song For My Father" and Bobby Timmons' "Moanin'."

Some of the pleasures of this recording include the instrumental performances of the Great American Songbook selections. The group swings best on the shuffle tempo of the Mitchell Parish piece "Deep Purple," 'Riz Ortolani's early '60s film theme "More," and the Warren/Gordon classic "There Will Never Be Another You."

Visit Johnny Smith on the web.


Track Listing: I've Got You Under My Skin; Old Devil Moon; All Blues; Is You Is Or Is You Ain't (Ma'Baby); Fly Me To The Moon; Mercy,Mercy,Mercy; There Will Never Be Another You; Come Rain or Come Shine; Moanin'; More; Song For My Father; Deep Purple.

Personnel: Johnny Smith: lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica; Mark Holzinger: lead guitar, backing vocals; Chris Justin: bass.

Title: San Francisco Bay Jazz | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Terrestrial CD/LP/Track Review
Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Get Somethin' CD/LP/Track Review
Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Bansangu Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
Bansangu Orchestra
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Change Of Address" CD/LP/Track Review Change Of Address
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Out of Place" CD/LP/Track Review Out of Place
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Absolutely Live II" CD/LP/Track Review Absolutely Live II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Pneuma" CD/LP/Track Review Pneuma
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: January 24, 2018
Read "Hiromi & Edmar Castaneda Live In Montreal" CD/LP/Track Review Hiromi & Edmar Castaneda Live In Montreal
by Jeff Winbush
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "mono no aware" CD/LP/Track Review mono no aware
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2017