With friends Mark Holzinger on electric guitar and Chris Justin on bass, Johnny Smith recorded "San Francisco Bay Jazz," the CD was released, July 2006.
In short, "San Francisco Bay Jazz" contains a dozen tunes -- every one a winner.
From the opening vocal sunburst of Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin" -- with Smith's silky vocal matched chord for chord by Holzinger's singing guitar -- to the closer, the all-time Tin Pan Alley classic, "Deep Purple," here's Johnny Smith and friends having fun AND providing us with a wonderful listening experience.
There are other standards from the great American songbook -- check out the cotton candy vocal of Burton Lane's "Old Devil Moon" underscored by bassist Justin's tricky fingerwork, or the agreeable swing of the tried-and-true Bart Howard classic, "In Other Words (Fly Me to the Moon)."
You might say that "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?" is rocking chair jazz, delivered in the swingin' style of '40s jazz violinist/vocalist Stuff Smith. When Smith croons Harry Warren's "There Will Never Be Another You," well, you believe him. This one has a sweet instrumental opening, displaying how well these three musicians work together.
Johnny Smith's in his element with the popular blues, "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," and the tightly tuned trio serves up a pleasing instrumental arrangement of the all-too-familiar jazz hit, "Moanin.'"
Remember the film "Mondo Cane?" You're older than you look! Smith provides a straight-ahead reading of the theme song from that '60s box office hit, titled "More."
"San Francisco Bay Jazz" contains great songs that are arrestingly interpreted and performed. This is easy, agreeable listening -- a CD that's a must for the part of your collection that you play often.
By L. Pierce Carson
Napa Valley Register
For additional information about Smith and his CDs, log online at www.johnnysmithgroup.com.