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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Dee: "I feel my generation had one advantage over today's players in that we were not musically educated in colleges, so we all sounded different. I could tell who it was just by the sound." - (Jazz Rag, Summer 2020).

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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON

SATURDAY

Happy Birthday Katy Trigger & Mia Webb.

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Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. Tel: 0191 691 7090. 12 noon. Free.

Riviera Quartet - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. A limited number of seats are available which MUST be bought in advance online. £7:50 or £5:45 live stream only.

THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A letter and an email between Ron Chapman and Johnny Smith.

The recent death of guitarist Johnny Smith prompted number one fan Ron Chapman to send us this correspondence between the the two guitarists. Thank you Ron. - Lance.
----- 
3rd October. 2004.
Dear Johnny,
Last year I attended the Wrexham Jazz course in the hope of meeting you, but it turned out even better than I had hoped. I heard you play!
I enjoyed your visit into the class with Louis Stewart where we were being instructed by Mundel Lowe. I handed my camera to one of the guitarists in my group and the photo that he took was published in the Just Jazz Guitar Magazine in the May 2004 issue.
The purpose of this letter is to give you my own appreciation for the hours of pleasure that your recordings have given me. I am pretty sure that I have every recording that was ever issued; the quality of your playing never ceases to amaze me. I learned Moonlight in Vermont, which is the tune that I open every performance with. I also play among others The Girl with the Flaxen Hair, You are too Beautiful and The Shadow of your Smile. It’s after trying to emulate your smooth style of chord playing and the fast single note runs such as you are famous for that I began to doubt that no amount of practice could make me as perfect as what I was listening to.
After 40 years of playing I can play the long stretch chords without much problem and I know that you will disagree with me, but after practicing your runs for hundreds of hours without perfecting them I came to the conclusion that no amount of practice would ever make me sound like Johnny Smith. I wonder if there are any tips which you could pass on to help me attain the speed and clarity of single note runs. I guess there must have been a moment in your life when you realised that you could do it! I struggle; I listen to your recordings and try to copy.  I know that you practiced for hours on end but I think what makes you exceptional is perhaps that touch of genius.
Many thanks.  
Ron Chapman.
-----
Howdy Ron, good to hear from you.  Thanks for all the nice words, indeed a compliment coming from you as I was very impressed by your playing of "Send in The Clowns at Wrexham" fine playing indeed!
Sandy and I are ok, just keeping out of everybody's way.
I was fishing in Baja in June and getting ready to go back October 7th for a week. Fishing is great and October and June are the best months. In June, the marlin were running 250 lbs. and up. We release all bill fish that are not badly injured.
Stay well my friend and keep up your playing, thanks for staying in touch. 
Your friend                                                                                               
Johnny Smith


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