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.
Three overlapping groups are heard from here, and they revisit the repertoire of the McKenzie & Condon's Chicagoans of 1927 (playing new versions of the four songs originally recorded) and Bud Freeman's 1939-1940 Summa Cum Laude Orchestra. The two septets and the octet feature such immortal Condonites as tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman; Jimmy McPartland and Billy Butterfield on trumpets; trombonists Tyree Glenn and Jack Teagarden (who also takes some vocals); clarinetists Pee Wee Russell and Peanuts Hucko; pianists Gene Schroeder and Dick Cary; rhythm guitarist Al Casamenti (but surprisingly no Eddie Condon); bassists Milt Hinton, Al Hall, and Leonard Gaskin; and drummer George Wettling. The veterans were all still in prime form at the time, and they sound quite inspired.