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Johnny Smith

Johnny Smith

"Johnny Smith", (born "John Henry Smith, Jr." on June 25, 1922 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American jazz guitarist, although he does not consider himself to be a musician in the idiom. His most critically acclaimed album was "Moonlight in Vermont" (one of Downbeat magazine's top two jazz records for 1952, featuring saxophonists Stan Getz and Zoot Sims). Smith's playing is characterized by closed-position chord voicings and rapidly ascending lines (reminiscent of Django, but more diatonic than chromatically-based). From those famous 1952 sides and in to the 1960s he recorded for the Roost label, on whose releases his reputation mainly rests. Mosaic Records has issued the majority of them in an 8CD set.

His most famous musical composition is the tune "Walk, Don't Run", written for a 1955 recording session as

counter-melody to the chord changes of "Softly, As in the Morning Sunrise". Another guitarist Chet Atkins

covered the song. Some musicians who became The Ventures heard the Atkins version, simplified it and speeded it

up and made it into a big hit in 1960.

An extremely diverse musician, Johnny Smit...

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