Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. Guitarist Johnny Smith plays the music of Jimmy Van Heusen – a composer whose understated approach is a perfect match for the subtle style of the stringman! The songs are mostly easygoing numbers, in a style that suits Johnny well – and allows him to open up those fluid tones and colors in just the right way. Backing is by a trio that features Bob Pancoast on piano, George Roumanis on bass, and Gerry Segal on drums – working with a vibe that matches the strength of Smith's other Roost sessions from the time – the kind of albums that helped redefine the role of the guitar in jazz during the postwar years.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. A beautiful document of some of the most laidback jazz ever recorded – the sublime 50s recordings of the Johnny Smith group, done at a time when the lineup included Stan Getz! The tunes on the set feature Johnny's mellow electric guitar setting the pace, alongside wonderfully-blown early solos from Stan, plus some other tenor work from Zoot Sims and Paul Quinichette, who also sit in the tenor chair on a few of these recordings. The tunes are mostly standards, but done in a great style that's not exactly cool jazz, but which has a groundbreakingly easy groove that's simply sublime!
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. In 1957, Johnny Smith was at the height of his artistic power when he cut this album for the Roost label. Smith had a patented method for shifting from single-string statements of the melody line to complex chordal structures with amazing ease. This ability is put to use for each of the cuts on this album, but is especially useful on such cuts as "Angel Eyes" and "You Go to My Head." Smith's guitar also seemed to have a one of a kind resonance to it, which energized every melody he played, whether on the melody itself or when improvising, making his playing immediately recognizable.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. An overlooked 50s set from guitarist Johnny Smith – one that features a piano added into his trio, hence the "foursome" in the title! The pianist here is Bob Pancoast, who has a fluid, sometimes gentle touch on the keys – one that spins out Smith's guitar a bit more than usual, with a lyrical flair that we really like – and which is sometimes a bit of a contrast to his better-known mellow mode. The rest of the group features Knobby Totah on bass and Jerry Segal on drums.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. The Johnny Smith sound is a wonderful one – not just the sound that he makes with his groundbreaking work on the strings of the guitar, but also the way he records the instrument – which set a new standard in jazz guitar albums, and also helped pave the way for countless generations to come! A date like this is a great example of the standard-setting work that Smith was able to give us in his prime – and the approach slightly updates the Smith guitar sound of the early 50s – clarifying it a bit, but still keeping that great tone right out front – with a group that includes Hank Jones on piano, George Duvivier on bass, and Ed Shaughnessey on drums.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. Canadian flutist Moe Koffman was delighted to have a hit on his hands after the success of his "The Swingin' Shepherd Blues," so this Jubilee LP became his immediate follow-up album. Joined by guitarist Ed Bickert, bassist Hugh Currie and drummer Ron Rully, Koffman wrote five new originals for this record, including the light and breezy "Flute Salad" and the hip swinger "Marty's Morgue." He also adds an easygoing take of Sonny Rollins' "Doxy," and a hard bop (with traces of funk in its introduction) arrangement of the standard "Alone Together." Koffman switches to alto sax for his intricate "Bermuda Schwartz" (which features a fine solo by Bickert and a few drum breaks), as well as on Rully's exotic composition "What Can You Do." Long out of print, consider this LP to be extremely rare.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. A very special album from Johnny Smith – one of the few to feature his sublime guitar sound amidst a larger string setting – which only seems to emphasize the moodier, darker tones of his instrument! The album's a lot like his My Dear Little Sweetheart set – and, like that one, it features help from conductor Irv Kostal, as well as violinist Gene Orloff – both artists with the right sort of subtle, understated approach to make sure that Johnny's six strings never get lost in the larger swirl! Most tunes are very slow-moving, which allows us to hear that Smith guitar magic in full relief – that special way that Johnny had of choosing just the right notes and colors, in just the right way.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. One of the most obscure Johnny Smith albums for Roost – and one of the most striking, too! The album takes the sound of Johnny's guitar and backs it with some larger arrangements from Irwin Kostal – very mellow, and very string-laden – with a dreamy late nite quality that's even moodier than that of Johnny's small combo records. There's an eerie mood to the set that really grabs us, and which seems to deepen even more on repeated listenings (probably enhanced by the painting of a child on the cover – as you'd expect a lady from the "sweetheart" title!)
Astrud Gilberto's entry in the nicely appointed Verve Jazz Masters compilation series shows exactly why the Brazilian singer is deserving of such an accolade. In her '60s heyday, Gilberto was often derided by jazz purists for her vibrato-less "desafinado" (deliberately slightly off-pitch) singing style and deadpan, childlike voice. But the diminutive bossa nova star has since been a huge influence on dozens of jazz and pop singers. VERVE JAZZ MASTERS is less of a greatest hits package than it is a smartly balanced retrospective of many of Gilberto's best performances. Her biggest hits, "Call Me" and "Summer Samba," are not included, and her signature tune, "The Girl From Ipanema," is only represented by a live take from a 1964 Carnegie Hall concert. The collection places equal emphasis on Gilberto's bossa nova-style interpretations of jazz standards and on her signature Portuguese-language sambas.