Jazz Guitarists – Johnny Smith

Musican Summary

JIMG_0031ohnny Smith is one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all times. Unless you ask Johnny Smith who says he’s not a really a jazz guitarist. Well, who are you going to believe. Johnny Smith, or guitarists Jimmy Bruno, Pat Matrino, Barny Kessel and Bill Fresell.

Johnny Smith was active in the New York City jazz scene in the 1950s. One of his most memorable recordings was Moonlight in Vermont with Stan Getz. One of his most famous compositions is Walk Don’t Run although the version by the Ventures is better known.

Johnny Smith’s wife died and leaving him to try to raise their daughter on his own. He decided it would be difficult for him to continue his career and raise his daughter in New York so he moved to Colorado where he opened a music store.

Johnny Smith helped design signature guitar models for a number of luthiers and companies including the Guild Johnny Smith Award, a Gibson Johnny Smith model, a Heritage Johnny Smith model, and a Guild Johnny Smith Award by Benedetto.

What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life?

Seven Comes Eleven

Walk Don’t Run! (just the music, no video of Johnny Smith)

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  1. Hi….I live in Colorado Springs, and was wondering the name of Mr. Smith’s music store….my grandson is a guitarist….he is 17, has demonstrated at the NAMM Shows in Anaheim and just Nashville….plays every Thurs. night at Copperhead Road….but is studying jazz….

    Thank you in advance for your response!!! :)

    1. None of the references I have found list the name of Johnny Smith’s music store. I went online to see if I could find you any more information. I found a ten year old story in the Colorado Springs Independent (Guitar Legend Johnny Smith Alive and Well in Colorado Springs http://bit.ly/qdNMMr) which indicates Johnny is retired from performing. I assumed he was retired from everything as well, but that isn’t clear. There’s also another interview from 2009 in the Independent (The Ballad of Johnny Smith http://bit.ly/nyGPHA).

      Thanks for asking. Wish I could have found out more. Good luck to your grandson on his music career.

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