The first time I heard Johnny Smith, in the early 60s, it was in an LP released in Argentina entitled "Los Grandes" (The Greats) which included only one track by Johnny and also beautiful pieces by Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams, Lambert, Hendricks and Rose, Count Basie, etc.
But Smith's rendition of Benny Golson's ballad "I'll Remember Clifford" was the track I loved most for many years. I was a teenager then and hadn't heard of Clifford Brown yet. But then I was learning to play guitar and I was mainly focused on guitarists. Later I became a fan of Clifford too. By that time it was very difficult for us to get American jazz records we were only limited to the few releases made here. But fortunately in later years I managed to get several of Johnny's recordings and now I have, I think, most of his recorded output. I also was surprised when I saw Johnny Smith's name among the players of a composition by Pierre Boulez. Later I knew he had played avant garde music. He was a complete musician and he is now even though he does not play.
My congratulations and my everlasting admiration, Mr. Smith !
Laureano Fernandez, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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