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Johnny Smith


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Johnny Smith, (born John Henry Smith, Jr. on June 25, 1922 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American jazz guitarist, although he does not consider himself to be a musician in the idiom. His most critically acclaimed album was “Moonlight in Vermont” (one of Downbeat magazine’s top two jazz records for 1952, featuring saxophonists Stan Getz and Zoot Sims). Smith’s playing is characterized by closed-position chord voicings and rapidly ascending lines (reminiscent of Django, but more diatonic than chromatically-based). From those famous 1952 sides and in to the 1960s he recorded for the Roost label, on whose releases his reputation mainly rests. Mosaic Records has issued the majority of them in an 8CD set.[1]

His most famous musical composition is the tune “Walk, Don’t Run”, written for a 1955 recording session as counter-melody to the chord changes of “Softly, As in the Morning Sunrise”. Another guitarist Chet Atkins covered the song. Some musicians who became The Ventures heard the Atkins version, simplified it and speeded it up and made it into a big hit in 1960.

An extremely diverse musician, Johnny Smith was equally at home playing in the famous Birdland jazz club or sight reading scores in the orchestral pit of the New York Philharmonic. From Schoenberg to Gershwin to originals, Smith was undoubtedly one of the most versatile guitarists of the 1950s.


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  • bloody72

    pozdrowienia ze Ślaska dla fanów Johnny Smith

    15 Mar 2014 Reply
  • Teh_Killjoy

    Such and underrated player. RIP.

    14 Jul 2013 Reply
  • moonjock


    14 Jun 2013 Reply
  • dreamtravel

    johnny smith is a skilled master guitarist! his renditions of beatle tunes are the best! wish they were on utube:)

    1 Apr 2009 Reply
  • neomami

    JAZZ GUITAR 系大好きです。Johnny Smithのギターとっても優しくて大好き。日本人で聞いている方が殆ど居ないのがザンネンです。

    14 Nov 2007 Reply
  • Similans

    Smooooth! I'm enchanted. :)

    28 Feb 2007 Reply
  • JyotiMishra

    Yep, Dan is RIGHT!

    8 Oct 2006 Reply
  • DanJGW

    Legend! great musician, check him out

    5 Mar 2006 Reply

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