Born in Baltimore, Ronny Smith grew up in a religious household. He considers his early influences to have been George Benson, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass, and one can hear touches of each of those greats in this CD along with Smith’s own strong musical personality. He gained important early experience playing in high school ensembles, at the University of Maryland, and as a member of the Army Band. After earning a Masters degree and spending a period playing backup in a variety of settings, he began his successful solo career.
In 1981 Ronny left University of Maryland in his senior year to enlist and soon became a member of a U.S. Army Band. His early years in the Army Band system allowed him the rare experience to tour extensively in the United States and Europe enjoying the opportunity to share the stage with renowned vocalist and actress, Melba Moore. "Serving his country has been the most rewarding and honorable experience that has been associated with. As a musician, his duties included providing troop morale, community service and ceremonial support. As he states, "There is no better way to support those who support you,”. Ronny is currently serving his 31st year as a soldier musician.
In 2001, Ronny made the decision to develop his own music and recording career. Concurrent with his now part time Army Band career, Ronny has recorded, "Long Time Comin," "Laid Back", "Got Groove”, "Simply Stated," released on K&A Music, his own label. After those four releases, Ronny signed with a jazz and world music label, Pacific Coast Jazz, his fifth release, "Just Groovin," and soon to be released, his sixth release, "Can't Stop Now". Coming spring of 2013.
As an educator, Ronny has published a complete guide for the beginning guitar called, The Essential Guide for Beginner Guitarist, The Headstart Guide for the Beginner Guitarist, and Lessons in Jazz Guitar. All of these books are published under his own publishing company, Ronka Music group, LLC.
Guitarist Ronny Smith’s mellow tone, subtle creativity, and ability to groove over catchy rhythms have made him an increasingly popular force in contemporary jazz. His three previous CDs (following his demo CD Long Time Comin’) have titles that perfectly fit his music: Got Groove, Laid Back, and Simply Stated. Just Groovin’ displays Smith’s continued growth, knack for creating powerful solos at a relatively quiet volume, and nine new compositions along with a soulful jam on Kenny Dorham’s hard bop classic “Blue Bossa.”
~ Scott Yanow, Author ( The Jazz Singers, Bebop, Trumpet Kings, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record)