Read the current issue of VG. Jazz guitarist Johnny Smith died at his home June 11, , two weeks shy of his 91st birthday. Arguably the most respected and revered guitarist of the modern era to present , Smith was sincerely humble and reserved about his extraordinary talent. Smith was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in He heard his first Django Reinhardt record as a pre-teen and saved his nickels so he could buy every Django rpm recording that was released.
His folks had a Victrola which afforded only three or four plays before it wore out a disc. And I got to where I could out-guess their modulations. Soon, he was in the Army Air Corps in hopes of realizing his dream of becoming a pilot.
But because of a vision flaw in his left eye, he was given the choice of becoming a flight mechanic or joining the marching band.
He opted for the band and was given a cornet and an instruction book. His intrinsic talent and dedication hours of practice in the latrine saw him conquer the horn and the Arban method in a couple of weeks. Les Paul was at the Paramount. He entered an arrangement with Epiphone to use its Emperor model as his regular instrument, and designed the Emperor Concert — a purely acoustic instrument easily identified by its trapezoidal sound hole. Smith widened the parallel bracing and had the top carved to reduce thickness around the sound hole.
The guitar was intended for production, but his own was the only one completed. Smith had mixed feelings about his first attempts at guitar design. The guitar had a notably wider fingerboard, which Smith initially found unwieldy but then came to appreciate. The shorter scale length facilitated his trademark stretch chords without loss of tone, while the extended neck and cross-bracing resulted in a better balance of tone and volume.
The following year, Smith began an endorsement deal with Guild, which resulted in the Johnny Smith Award. Famously, Smith disagreed with the factory foreman regarding the carving process, though years later he graciously admitted he had been wrong and that the Guild was a fine instrument. It was perfection, across the board. By , Smith had become frustrated with certain methods at Gibson, particularly its refusal to produce consistent necks, and he awarded his endorsement to Heritage, which manufactured the Johnny Smith Rose per his original Gibson design.
Johnny also played a significant part in the development of dedicated amplification for the instrument. Their work together resulted in the production of some of the first dedicated and respectable guitar amps. However, Smith was never happy to rest on his laurels. Genre Jazz. Styles Cool. Recording Date March 11, - Track Listing - Disc 1. Where or When. Johnny Smith. Moonlight in Vermont. My Funny Valentine. Sometimes I'm Happy. Stars Fell on Alabama.
I'll Be Around. Alec Wilder. Ray Noble. Mabel Wayne. The Terry Theme from Limelight. Charlie Chaplin. Lullaby from Birdland. My One and Only Love. Stranger in Paradise. Love Is Here to Stay. In a Sentimental Mood. Track Listing - Disc 2. What's New. I'll Remember April. Sophisticated Lady. Easy to Love.
Cole Porter. Autumn in New York. Vernon Duke. Walk, Don't Run. Lover Man. Someone to Watch over Me. How About You? Dancing on the Ceiling. Blues for Birdland. Have You Met Miss Jones? But Beautiful. Swinging on a Star. I Could Have Told You. It Could Happen to You. Oh You Crazy Moon. I Thought About You. Deep in a Dream. So Help Me. Nancy With the Laughing Face. Polka Dots and Moonbeams. Darn That Dream. Track Listing - Disc 3. John Lewis. Wait Till You See Her.
More Bass. George Roumanis. Un Poco Loco. Bud Powell. Easy Living. Old Girl. Covers - Performances of a song with the same name by different artists. The recording on the other side of this disc: Tabu. Uploaded by jakej on April 10, Search icon An illustration of a magnifying glass. User icon An illustration of a person's head and chest. Sign up Log in. Web icon An illustration of a computer application window Wayback Machine Texts icon An illustration of an open book.
Backbeat Books. Da Capo Press. Echo and Twang: Classic Guitar Music of the '50s. Anaheim Hills: Centerstream Publishing. The New York Times. Retrieved The Guitar in Jazz: An Anthology. U of Nebraska Press. JHU Press. Stan Getz. Johnson at the Opera House with J. Death of a Corrupt Man Zoot Sims. Years given are for the recording s , not first release, unless stated otherwise.Johnny Smith Quintet Featuring Stan Getz – Moonlight In Vermont Label: Royal Roost – YSRO, Royal Roost – YSRO(RS)5/5(1).