Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Trevordog, Mar 12, 2015.
Thanks for putting this up
In the mid-70s in Minneapolis, I attended an hour and a half
concert of him and his group. It was very impressive.
Of course, he's one of the greats.
This is amazing, a great interview. He is very thoughtful and articulate--I can't imagine anyone not getting something useful from this.
Thanks so much, I've never seen this before.
I just ran across another Johnny Smith interview on Matt Warnock's site:
http://mattwarnockguitar.com/?s=johnny+smith. I hope you enjoy it.
The interesting bit is that Johnny says he's not really a jazz player. Yeah, just like I'm not a decrepit mediocre guitarist!
I grew up near Mr Smith's music store in Colorado Springs, and I can tell you he was an amazing gentleman, in the classic sense of the word. His wife was very nice, too. I'll always remember the Gibson Johnny Smith hanging in one case, and the Stratocaster in another.
The true measure of Johnny Smith is when you realize how prominent he was at NBC Music Studios in the early 50s, and when his first wife passed away, he decided to move to Colorado Springs as a better place to raise his daughter. He was quite the fisherman, too.
I lived in Colorado Springs 1966-68 about a 15 minute drive from Johnnys music store, took some lessons there, wish I'd have stuck with his program a bit longer but the material I had to play wasn't to my liking so I moved on.
He had a framed gold record on the wall for the Ventures cover of Walk Don't Run.
Johnny was a real nice guy and man could he play.
Great post and great memories, guys. Thanks. Big Johnny fan here.
I was sitting at a bar in the Springs one night and a buddy was talking about "the greatest guitar player in the world" coming to play a concert at some big arena. I just grinned and told him if the guy were there he wouldn't even be the best guitar player in Colorado Springs.
I'll take Johnny any day. Still have both of his books.
Another great interview here.
Amazing read. Sadly, the "alive and kicking" no longer applies...
Thanks for posting.
Not to detract from the great Johnny Smith, but:
FWIW, Tom (an early student of Smith's) is a frighteningly good and endlessly inspiring musician and teacher whose wonderful recordings are only the tip of the iceberg of what he can do/has done.
Thanks for posting the video.
Colorado Springs, CO!
Tom did a great interview, and asked all the right questions that other interviewers never asked him.
I listened to some of Tom's clips on his Band Camp site, and thought he played great.
Another one of Smith's students who was also a great player was the late Mike Elliot.
It is amazing that there are many players that have emulated Page, Clapton, Hendrix, etc..., but it's been over 65 years, and no one has come close to emulating Johnny Smith.
Wow! A lesson from Johnny Smith. Thank you.
Johnny was once asked why he settled in Colo Springs.
Johnny said because it was as far away as he could get from New York without getting too close to LA.
Thanks for posting this! As was stated earlier...I can't imagine anyone not benefiting from the information in this video.
What a thoughtful man. I'm only a little familiar with his books and recordings. I know his reputation more than his actual music. Going to have to watch this a few times and take some notes.
My old guitar teacher here in Colorado Springs had a surf band. One night they were playing a bar about a block and a half from Johnny's music store. It turned out to be a hangout of Johnny's. As luck would have it, they had just started Walk Don't Run when Johnny came walking I the door. My guitar teacher stopped the song and told the band he refused to play that song in front of Johnny Smith.
Thanks again for posting the video (and for being tolerant of my derail).
While it's true no one's come close to emulating Mr. Smith, his playing casts a giant shadow over anyone who pursues chord-melody guitar. For a while there in his early career, Mundell Lowe was sounding an awful lot like a disciple, even down to the dropped-D tuning. Two of the better-known contemporary players who have studied him, Howard Alden and Jack Wilkins, have integrated several elements of his approach. Alternatively, I can't think of many who I've heard using 3-octave scales and arps with any regularity. They're kind of a specialized, but time-consuming musical feat.
One thing I have to remind myself when listening/watching, is that he was (in his prime, at least) playing with medium-high action, and pretty heavy strings, and still accomplishing that smooth legato effect.
For those Smith fans who've already got/heard the Mosaic Roost box and the solo x 2 w/ Van Eps, here's a few other recordings I've enjoyed as well:
Jerri Southern Meets Johnny Smith,
Beverly Kenney Sings for Johnny Smith,
Art Van Damme's 'A Perfect Match' (jazz accordion & Johnny Smith!)
I don't know if you've heard any of Mike Elliot's jazz LPs of the 1970s, but he took the JS techniques you mentioned, and applied them to a more modern jazz, even fusion, style of music. Pretty amazing.
He wound up becoming a Nashville session man and producer.
Thanks for this!