Landing a job at New York’s NBC studios in 1946, Smith found himself playing guitar, blowing horn (he mastered the cornet while in the air force), and composing for radio (and later television). Soon thereafter he joined clarinet legend Benny Goodman’s Sextet, the very group that launched jazz guitar phenom Charlie Christian in 1939. This eye-opening experience inspired Smith to experiment with his own ensembles, and his hard work (including playing jazz and classical music with everyone from Count Basie to Arturo Toscanini) paid off. His 1952 Roost Records debut, “Moonlight in Vermont,” featuring saxophonist Stan Getz, quickly shot up the radio charts and has since become a jazz classic. After eight years at NBC, some 20 recordings for Roost, and the tragic loss of his wife, Johnny Smith retired to Colorado Springs in 1958, rarely looking back.
Based on measures 1 through 4 of “Moonlight in Vermont,” Ex. 1 demonstrates how the harp-like “buzz” of seconds (such as the major second D-E in Cmaj9, beat one of bar 3) can add new color to an arrangement. Smith mastered the art of seamless “block-chord” motion by observing organists. Since they didn’t yet use reverb, organists had to leave at least one finger on a key while switching chords to keep the movement smooth. Try Ex. 2 over bars 5 through 8 of an “I Got Rhythm”-type of progression in G, and envision playing it on an old B3 without reverb. Voicing chords mostly on the inside strings avoids excessive string skipping and allows you greater ease in stacking seconds. Ex. 3 is a combination of two classic Smith-isms combined over a II-V-I progression in Bb (Cm7-F7-Bb). Notice how intervallic leaps add movement to the lines.
Watch John Myung of Dream Theater on Ernie Ball: String Theory (VIDEO)
Allman Brothers Band To Release 8-CD Set "The Fox Box" with Oteil Burbridge
TWA Releases the DM-02 Dynamorph Envelope-Controlled Harmonic Generator
This Week in Free Stuff: Music Maker DAW & Field Recordings
Video: Mixvibes RemixLive 3.0 Brings Finger Drumming to Android
Drag-and-Drop Sound Effects from the Cloud to Your Projects with Soundly
The Art of Synth Soloing: Joe Zawinul
DISCOVERY – Thelonious Monk: Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
How To: Chaos Rules
Prisma Accardo: A Boutique Beauty Built from Hard Rock Maple Skate Decks
Watch Chuck Berry Rock the Grammys with Stevie Ray Vaughan and George Thorogood
Line 6 Introduces Echo Farm 3.0 64-Bit AAX Native Plug-In
Body Count Premiere New Song and Music Video, "Black Hoodie"
Papa Roach Announce New Album Details for 'Crooked Teeth'
Exclusive: Interview with Northlane Guitarist Josh Smith on Surprise Album Release, 'Mesmer'
Andy Summers Discusses His New Album, ‘Triboluminescence’
Night Ranger’s Jack Blades and Brad Gillis Talk New Album, 'Don't Let Up'
Reggie Young: Legendary Memphis Session Guitarist to Release Debut Solo Album
Copyright ©2017 by NewBay Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016 T (212) 378-0400 F (212) 378-0470