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Bebop Spoken There

Robert Plant: "The only reunion we [Led Zeppelin] are likely to have is in a chip shop in Camden Town" - (i July 7).

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Roland Kirk: "A person can't appreciate freedom unless he's been in prison." - (Down Beat May 18, 1967).

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance

Posting a comment

If you experience any problems posting a comment, as I understand some readers are, then email it to me direct, stating which post your comment relates to - lanceliddle@gmail.com. Alternatively, try the Anonymous button but please sign your name!
Apologies for any inconvenience, this is due to circumstances beyond my control.

Today Tuesday July 17

Afternoon

Classic Swing - The Ship, Front St., Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.

Evening

Northern Monkey Brass Band - Glenholme Park, New Road, Crook DL15 8LN. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Big BRASS Bash (Durham Brass Festival).

Jam session - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. Free. House trio: Steve Glendinning, Paul Grainger, Rob Walker.

Francis Tulip Quartet - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB. Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

Reel Brass + Shake ‘Em Up Brass Band - Lanchester, Co. Durham DH7. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Town centre street performance. Durham Brass Festival (Street Ceilidh).

Hokum Hotshots - Royal Northumberland Yacht Club, South Harbour, Blyth NE24 3PB. 7:00pm. £10.00.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

R.I.P Johnny Smith.

Just heard that guitarist Johnny Smith died yesterday (June 12) aged 90. One of the all time greats. I guess, like many jazz people, it was his version of Moonlight in Vermont with Stan Getz that first brought him to my attention. In particular the rich harmonies and a rather wonderful run at the end of the tenor solo. For 1952 this was as much the epitome of 'cool' as anything that Chet and Gerry were doing.
Smith seemed at home with tenorists - as well as Getz he recorded with Zoot Sims, Paul Quinichette and Frank Foster.
However, one has to wonder what direction his music would have taken if he hadn't opted out of the main scene to teach and run a music store?.
Sadly another icon has gone although not without leaving us a treasured recorded legacy.
Rest In Peace.
Obituary.
Lance.
PS: Above - Johnny Smith pictured right with Barney Kessel. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Summerfield).
PPS: Letter from Johnny Smith to Maurice Summerfield dated December 28, 2008.


3 comments :

Roly said...

Sad to hear this. He was one of the greats. Some pals saw him at the Wales Guitar Fest a few years back and said he was amazing and a perfect gentleman too, and very humble. His vertically stacked, close voiced chords were a trademark of his and something new at the time. They are very difficult to finger (big hands help) and in that respect he pushed the existing boundaries of jazz guitar playing. He had immaculate technique. Also he played a key role in guitar development and design both with Gibson and Guild. A truly nice guy who became a legendary figure and a member of jazz guitar royalty.
Roly

Maurice Summerfield said...

Although I never met Johnny Smith – I did have had mail contact with him over the years and found him to be a perfect gentleman. He was always totally modest about his enormous talent and about the extent of his influence on so many other guitarists.
I first heard his distinctive lush chording and crystal clear single-note soloing on the historic 1952 recording of ‘Moonlight in Vermont’.. This recording, with Stan Getz, gained great popularity even outside the regular jazz audience – and enjoyed very large sales. I soon began collecting every available Johnny Smith recording – and I still have and enjoy them all to this day.
Many people do not know that although the guitar was his first instrument, Johnny Smith began his professional career in the late 1940's as a trumpeter with the New York Philharmonic. However once Johnny’s mastery of the guitar in his inimitable and unique style was recognised he became staff guitarist with the NBC in the 1950s.
All the great jazz guitarists I have known have always spoken of their great admiration of Johnny both as a person and as one of the most influential jazz guitarists of all times.
Maurice Summerfield

Ron Chapman said...

Lance - you are the bearer of the bad news. As you know Johnny Smith was a major influence in my style of chordal playing. I also have everything he ever recorded. I had some fascinating conversations with him at a guitar seminar in Wrexham when he recalled some of his memories of recording with Jerri Southern and Ruth Price among others. He was a true gentleman who in recent years enjoyed game fishing in the gulf of California.
He was totally surprised by the reception he received from the guitarists at the seminar. I went to the seminar simply so I could meet him and a great moment for me was to have my photograph taken with the great man which was published in the Just Jazz Guitar magazine.

Blog Archive

About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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