Johnny Smith / George Van Eps - Legends: Solo Guitar Performances

Johnny Smith / George Van Eps - Legends: Solo Guitar Performances
Album: Legends: Solo Guitar Performances
Duration: 01:01:02
Recording Date: December 23, 1976 - April 13, 1994
Release Date: 1994
Artist: Johnny Smith \ George Van Eps
Genre: Jazz
Styles: Cool, Guitar Jazz, Jazz Instrument

Despite the impression one could reasonably get from the cover of this reissue, these two guitar legends do not perform together, unfortunately. The next best thing are these solo sessions recorded almost 20 years apart. The first 12 items on the play list belong to Smith and capture his tasteful, clean sound coupled with complex chordal voices, which helped Smith in his adventures with playing classical compositions, including for the fabled Arturo Toscanini. Cuts that remind the listener of Smith's occasional classical foray include "Romance de los Pinos," "The Old Castle," and "Maid With the Flaxen Hair." But Smith was no slouch with constructing unique renditions of popular music. In 1952, teaming with Stan Getz, he made one of the best-selling jazz recordings of all times, "Moonlight in Vermont," which still sold well 50 years later. Van Eps was the master of the seven-string guitar, which allowed him to play his own basslines, well demonstrated on such cuts as "Tea for Two." The 11 pieces assigned to Van Eps reveal a predilection for highly rhythmic versions of well-known pop classics. Perhaps not as multi-faceted as Smith, he nonetheless had a fully developed style that approached the depth and complexity of Smith's. This can be heard on such cuts as "I Hadn't Anyone Till You" and "A Foggy Day." Besides which, he could and did swing. Although sideman on many a session, Van Eps left behind a relatively meager discography as a leader. These solo offerings are among his best. Although the styles of these two guitarists may go down different paths, their excellent technical skills, fully elevated imagination, and sensitivity to what they play clearly establish them among the elite of guitar players, true legends indeed. Recommended.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
I'm Old Fashioned / Jerome Kern / Johnny MercerGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:18
Macho's Lullaby / Johnny SmithGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:06
'Round Midnight / Bernie Hanighen / Thelonious Monk / Cootie WilliamsGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:46
Wally's Waltz / Johnny SmithGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith1:29
Black, Black, Black / TraditionalGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:25
Golden Earrings / Ray Evans / Jay Livingston / Victor YoungGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:59
Romance de los Pinos / Federico Moreno TorrobaGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith1:32
Norteña / Jorge GomezGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:58
Maid With the Flaxen Hair / Claude Debussy / Public DomainGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:10
Waltz / Public Domain / Manuel PonceGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:31
The Old Castle / Modest Mussorgsky / TraditionalGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith3:54
Sevilla / Pascual Albeniz / Isaac Albéniz / Public DomainGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith4:15
Cheek to Cheek / Irving BerlinGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:19
A Foggy Day / George Gershwin / Ira GershwinGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith4:12
Tangerine / Johnny Mercer / Victor SchertzingerGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith1:10
Sunny / Bobby HebbGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:16
Why Was I Born? / Oscar Hammerstein II / Jerome KernGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith1:20
I Didn't Know What Time It Was / Lorenz Hart / Richard RodgersGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:33
Tea for Two / Irving Caesar / Vincent YoumansGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith5:19
The Man I Love / George Gershwin / Ira GershwinGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith4:29
For You / Joe Burke / Al DubinGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith1:39
I Hadn't Anyone Till You / Ray NobleGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:01
I Could Write a Book / Lorenz Hart / Richard RodgersGeorge Van Eps / Johnny Smith2:21

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