PLEASE REGISTER TO POST. Also, be sure to visit the main website www.tedgreene.com

**************************************************************************************
Buy NOW on Amazon
My Life with The Chord Chemist
A Memoir of Ted Greene, Apotheosis of Solo Guitar
Available at amazon.com

*Check it out!!!

YOUR SUPPORT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Your contributions keep the site healthy and growing


More information HERE

Official Ted Greene Archives Blog

Ted Greene Archives on YouTube

Join Ted on FACEBOOK

NEW! Follow on TWITTER

..:: The Ted Greene Forums ::..
Register Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
PaulV

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 1,584
Reply with quote  #1 
Johnny Smith, the man who wrote the surf guitar anthem "Walk, Don't Run" has died.  Guitarist Johnny Smith died Tuesday night (6/11/2013) at his Colorado home of natural causes. He would have been 91 years old on June 25.

Smith's tune was a Top 10 hit for The Ventures — twice. The group's 1960 recording hit No. 2. They re-recorded it in '64 and that version got up to No. 8 — at that time, the first occurrence of the same song by the same group cracking the Top 10 twice. The Ventures never heard the songwriter's of "Walk, Don't Run." Instead, they took their version from a '57 record.  Chet, being the Southern gentleman that he was, asked Smith's permission after one of Smith's shows at the celebrated jazz venue Birdland in New York City. Smith readily agreed but Atkins insisted the composer hear his arrangement of it. So he played it on Smith's guitar in his dressing room.

Smith was born in Alabama and grew up in Maine.  After WWII, he landed a job as an NBC studio musician. He played on Ed Sullivan andThe Arthur Godfrey Show.  He played under the batons of such storied conductors as Arturo Toscanini and Dimitri Mitropoulos.  He could play it all — and well — but he was first and foremost a jazz guitarist.  In 1952, he put together a group that included saxophonist Stan Getz.  The album they recorded included blazing bebop and delicate ballads, in particular a version of "Moonlight in Vermont" that became one of the best-selling jazz records of its day.

I recall Ted mentioned Johnny in reference to Moonlight in Vermont, with the beautiful use of V-1 chords:
http://www.tedgreene.com/fromstudents/MoonlightInVermont.asp


__________________
--Paul
NickStasinos

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 300
Reply with quote  #2 
I have heard he received lots of requests for "Moonlight in Vermont" and would play it several times in one evening!  Listening to the Legends CD, the classical guitar repertoire would suggest he was classically trained and therefore preferred to play fingerstyle over pickstyle.  Does anyone know how immersed was he into classical guitar?  Was he first a classical guitarist before becoming a jazz guitarist or vise versa?
__________________
STAZZ MUSIC Productions
Specializing in fingerstyle guitar transcription and engraving.
bishopdm

Registered:
Posts: 244
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Nick:

I was reading an old Guitar Player article (January 1982, with Craig Chaquico on the cover) about JS this weekend after I learned of his passing, and I seem to recall that he was not trained as a classical guitarist. But the info in some of these old articles is often not complete. I do know that when he joined the Air Force, they needed a cornetist rather than a guitarist, so he taught himself cornet!

__________________
David Bishop
Tucson, AZ
NickStasinos

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 300
Reply with quote  #4 
I have that Guitar Player issue!  I am reminded Johnny Smith was also featured in Fingerstyle Guitar magazine #44.  That magazine is in one of these stacks over here ...

Attached Images
jpeg fsg44coversmall.jpg (24.13 KB, 13 views)


__________________
STAZZ MUSIC Productions
Specializing in fingerstyle guitar transcription and engraving.

bishopdm

Registered:
Posts: 244
Reply with quote  #5 
Ah, then I may be mistaken. If you find that issue, I would love to know more about his use of fingers vs. a pick.
__________________
David Bishop
Tucson, AZ
bishopdm

Registered:
Posts: 244
Reply with quote  #6 
You are too kind, barbaralovedcats . Paul deserves the lion's share of the credit for his tireless efforts to get Ted's stuff "out there."

If anyone here is unfamiliar with the "Legends" CD, you really would be doing yourself a favor to acquire a copy. Johnny Smith's facility with a pick is simply amazing. There are times that it almost sounds as if he's playing fingerstyle, but the liner notes say no, he used a pick exclusively. And of course George Van Eps is simply amazing (but everyone knows that!).

Does your friend have any recordings out there? Is he one of those great unknown local players or might we have heard of him? I find it interesting that no matter where you go, it seems like there's at least one master player in town who's a world-class player, but content to stay put and lead a quiet life. I know there's one here in Tucson, Matt Mitchell. I had the pleasure earlier this year of hearing him and a sax player at a private party. My jaw sat firmly on the floor all evening long!

__________________
David Bishop
Tucson, AZ
NickStasinos

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 300
Reply with quote  #7 
Barbaralovedcats, I would say with absolute certainty Ted was playing fingerstyle on that recording you referred to.  It was right around the same time Ted was to or already recorded "Solo Guitar" as you can hear the same nuances in the same tunes from that album.  That was also around the same time I started lessons with Ted. It was mostly fingers!  Regarding Johnny Smith, I read the Fingerstyle Guitar magazine article and I did not find anything that would hint to him playing ala fingerstyle.  He preferred piano scores over prepared ones for guitarists and occasionally would tune the 6th and sometimes the 5th string down in order to take advantage of certain piano voicings.  They included a couple tunes with the article, one being "Black, Black, Black" from the "Legends" album, and you are so right, it is a flatpick!  I am wondering if your friend, being that familiar with Johnny Smith's music, would rate these 21 JS transcriptions?

Attached Images
jpeg JS_book.jpg (63.22 KB, 21 views)


__________________
STAZZ MUSIC Productions
Specializing in fingerstyle guitar transcription and engraving.

NickStasinos

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 300
Reply with quote  #8 
Hi barbaralovedcats, I have seen these Stacy McKee chord grid sheets before (always from Chord Melody Productions).  My friend, Howard Heitmeyer, gave me Johnny Smith's "Wait Till You See Her" because he didn't quite get the chord grid system.  The chord grid sheets really don't tell the whole story and requires listening to the recording it was taken from.  I found this song in The Complete Roost Small Sessions.  It is a great box set, but sadly out of print.  How does something this great go out of print?  It's rhetorical!  

Howard tells me Johnny Smith had an accident with his left hand which actually aided him in reaching those stretchy V1 type chords i.e. "Moonlight in Vermont".  Ted had a sheet, as well as George Van Eps, on stretching exercises for the left hand and Ted would always reaffirm that nature would eventually conform your hand.  It's always a work in progress!

I am sure we would love to see Mr. Herron's work someday.  Maybe he'd be willing to tease us with "Wait Till You See Her"?  

__________________
STAZZ MUSIC Productions
Specializing in fingerstyle guitar transcription and engraving.
DanSawyer

Registered:
Posts: 283
Reply with quote  #9 
I agree that Johnny Smith played virtually everything with a pick (plectrum). He was supposed to have been an excellent trumpet player, or maybe it was cornet as you say. I also heard that he turned down some high paying trumpet gigs to concentrate on guitar. Another guitar player who played trumpet is Dick Dale! But did you guys know that Johnny Smith was a friend of Ted Greene's parents and was hired to to play a party at Ted's house?
__________________
Dan Sawyer, friend of Ted's.
NickStasinos

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 300
Reply with quote  #10 
In "Django, The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend", written by Michael Dregni in 2004, it was interesting to read Johnny Smith idolized Django as a kid. When Django was in New York in 1947, Johnny Smith befriended him and they hung out together. According to the book, Johnny and Django went to the Paramount where Les Paul was performing and visited and jammed in his dressing room. They started playing "Rose Room". Wouldn't I have loved to be there. Looking back now, you couldn't have paired three guitarists with such different approaches to the instrument. Each one unique in his own style. You could pick out their differences immediately. Not like most jazz guitarists that followed.

Attached Images
jpeg Django_book.jpg (37.52 KB, 10 views)


__________________
STAZZ MUSIC Productions
Specializing in fingerstyle guitar transcription and engraving.

Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.

YOUR SUPPORT MAKES A DIFFERENCE :: DONATE