Ronny Smith
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Ronny Smith

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Nov
19
Ronny Smith @ CARNIVAL CRUISE

San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA

San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA

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Sometimes in the middle of night I wake with a start and wonder if any guitar-based contemporary instrumental music would ever have been created if George Benson, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass had never been born. After hearing the first few seconds of Ronny Smith’s “Bossa Awhile,” which leads off his sparkling new CD, you’ll note the influences from this troika of geniuses and know that their legacies are in good hands.

Smith is a former U.S. Army Band member interested in expanding on the good groove of the latter-day Bensons like Ronny Jordan and Norman Brown, who mix pop and jazz sounds and tempos with traces of R&B, hip-hop and even rock. Smith doesn’t get as much exposure as those two, but he should. Aside from a cover of Steely Dan’s “Josie,” which even a guitar solo can’t save from blah-ville, Simply Stated is a strong effort. Smith doesn’t use a live drummer for the most part, but instead programs percussion and adds some interesting sounds from the controls, which only tend to heighten interest.

Highlights: “Chillin’ After Eight”’s light R&B with its hand-clap groove and trumpet bursts from Gerald Chavis; the bossa chill of “Majorca”; and the romanticism of “She’s So Special.” On Jonathan Butler’s “Fallin’ in Love with Jesus,” William Banks’ vocals take it to the top. - Jazz Times


Off The Hook

His mom sang in the church choir. His dad was the choir director and taught music in Baltimore, Maryland’s public school system. Guitarist, Ronny Smith’s first musical influences were his parents. “My dad introduced us to all kinds of instruments, the flute, the clarinet, whatever. Actually, the whole family would try an instrument or two. However, out of all that, I was the only one that actually wanted to play. I started fiddling around with instruments, initially the clarinet, but eventually gravitated toward the guitar.”

At fourteen, Smith seriously began studying the guitar. So, he got the guitar, and listened to Wes, George, and Joe Pass, among others, primarily playing by ear. Throughout his junior high school years, Smith continued to play the guitar and eventually learned to read music. High school brought other opportunities to
BREAK OUT ARTIST'S LINKS
Website: www.ronnysmith.com
Listen:
Bossa Awhile
Funny How Time Flies
Simply Stated
Purchase: cdbaby.com

hone his skills in the form of jazz ensembles, both in school and the community. After graduating high school, Ronny went on to study music at various colleges and universities. On the advice of a trusted friend and advisor, Dr. George Ross, at the University of Maryland, Smith became a part of the military band system playing in Army bands in Europe and the

U.S. Further studies took him from the Army to Elizabeth State University in NC and finally to the University of Phoenix where he completed his Masters Degree.

Smith has performed as a sideman for a wide range of artists in a variety of musical disciplines, including the Marvellettes, Melba Moore, and drummer Bobby Durham. In 2001, he released his first album, Long Time Comin, which was well worth the wait. Simmering keyboards and a smokin’ guitar provided a glimpse of what was to come and in 2002, he gave us Laid Back; on this one, Smith plays various compositional styles with unique improvisations and R&B fusion. One would think it doesn’t get any better than that, but it does. Got Groove? Of course, you do. And so does Ronny. Album #3, Got Groove, released in 2005, is contemporary jazz at its best. It’s rhythmic, and energetic, and has a whole lot soul.

Over the past seven years, Ronny Smith has definitely learned what to do and what not to do as it relates to his music. In March 2007, Simply Stated, Smith’s fourth and latest creation was released, a bold display of Ronny’s instrumental power and his compositional skill where seven of the nine tracks are original compositions. This disc contains a diverse mix of tunes with highlights that include the banging bossa nova beat of Majorca. He gets down and funky with Josey, a tune popularized by Steely Dan and his smoother side is well represented by the beautiful ballad Chillin After Eight. Smith gives God the glory with his moving interpretation of Fallin’ In Love With Jesus, authored by Jonathan Butler with vocal honors going to childhood friend, William Banks. Simply Stated, you’re gonna love it!

If George Benson or Earl Klugh is your cup of tea, then Ronny is your man. Don’t get this thing twisted; he is not a George or Earl wannabe. Smith has developed his voice and his playing style, just like those other boys. You feelin’ me? He is a class act, too! - Abyss Jazz


Simply Stated: Ronny Smith is a man on a mission. Currently on tour in musical service to his country, Smith has been heating up the stage as a key member of the Army Band.

Born in Baltimore Maryland, Smith learned to play by ear as a youngster to the sounds of Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and George Benson. As Smith grew as a guitarist and learned to read music, he tore up the stage for various jazz ensembles throughout his teen years. Once he graduated from high school, Smith auditioned for Uncle Sam and was quickly accepted as a guitarist in the Army Band.

As a member of the Army band, Smith toured Europe and began his studies at Elizabeth State University in North Carolina and eventually moved to the University of Phoenix, where he received a master's degree in organizational management.
Smith released his freshman CD, Long Time Comin in 2001. In 2002, Smith has released his debut CD, Laid Back. Got Groove was soon to follow in 2005. Recording CDs between the calls to serve his country has always been a challenge, but one Smith faces with great pride. “Serving my country has been the most rewarding and honorable experience that I have been associated with. As a musician, my duties include providing troop morale, community service and ceremonial support. There is no better way to support those who support you,” said Smith.

Smith's latest CD, Simply Stated, combines sexy R&B rhythms with old-school guitar lines that will leave you breathless. You hear touches of Wes Montgomery intermixed with ultra cool nighttime grooves that are all Ronny Smith. Smith's touch on the strings has a melodic voice without a heavy hand. He grooves, caresses and works his way through a song with maturity beyond his years. Take one listen and you'll be hooked and will want to keep your eyes out for this young lion on the rise.
- All About Jazz


Ronny Smith’s current record Simply Stated has a velvety refinement and butter-whipped fluidity that awakens good feelings in the listener. Produced by Ronny Smith, who also handles the guitar parts and keyboard programs, the album officiates a smooth jazz fest creating a lightly sweetened atmosphere and moments of thermal bliss that wraps family and friends in love. The gentle interaction and periods of bubbly engagements from the instruments are comfortable and exudes of happy feet. Contributing to the mix are Vernell Mincey on drums, George Campbell on saxophone, Gerald Chavis on flugelhorn and trumpet and Conley Whitfeld and Dexter Whitaker on bass, whose parts are so much a part of the music patterns that they morph into each other. This understated quality in the instruments enhances the songs calming flux and serenity which is a recurring theme throughout the album.

The album opens up with a sheen of leisurely grooves on “Bossa Awhile,” which has a savory smoothness like sipping a cup of mocha choco laitte. You can’t help but want the moment to last longer. Smith adorns the cool jazz tempo of “Chillin’ After Eight” with soft frothy horns and gently lounging guitar strokes chiseling sweetened hooks which give the music a sundown calm. “Majorca Remix” has a cocktail vibe with Latin curves and light splashing waves along the melodic phrases. The ascending and descending guitar chords on “Josey” form rumples along the rhythmic loops creating a cheerful exchange. The upbeat rhythmic steps of “Laidback Remix” support the guitar swells and its fluttering resonance as the lovely flowing movements of “She’s So Special Remix” are tenderly entwined.

The gist of Simply Stated is to make restful and reposing melodies that encourage a friendly atmosphere and cheerful conversations, like in the title track which puts the listener in a good mood. The guitar expressions are gentle and the tempos are prolific at creating an easy coasting motion like in the track “Fallin’ In Love With Jesus,” which maintains a gentle calm that carries the warm R&B vocals of singer William Banks, who gives this melody the voice of Southern blues-soul. The song is dedicated to Smith’s parents who raised him in Baltimore, Maryland.

Simply Stated is Ronny Smith’s fourth album following his demo Long Time Comin’ in 2001, Laid Back in 2002 and Got Groove in 2005. Like Charley Pride, Smith developed an instinct for playing the guitar by listening to the chordal work of his favorite artists like Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, and George Benson. It is a process of stars making more stars and Simply Stated has the making of fostering aspiring stars.
- Jazz Review


Discography

Ronny has recorded four CD's . His first, "Long Time Comin", "Laid Back", "Got Groove" and his latest (released in May 2007) "Simply Stated". He was backed by a number of musicians on his releases. Over the course of recording Ronny has played with Chris Rhodes - bass, Trendle Thomas - Keyboards, David Gladding - drums, Wake Campell -sax. On the "Laid Back" CD, Glen Arnette played keyboards. For his latest release, Ronny said he recorded with a number of musicians to produce his latest CD.

As of November 12, 2007 Ronny's song, "Bossa Awhile" has charted on the R&R Smooth Jazz Indicator Charts at # 22 http://pdf.rronline.com/sj/SJ-20071112-3184.pdf?userid={EmailAddress} as well has placed #9 on the Smoothjazz.com Indie Charts and is receiving national and local streaming and radio airplay.

Ronny is soon release his new CD, "Just Groovin" a debut release on the LA label, Pacific Coast Jazz...Coming this spring

Photos

Bio

Born in Baltimore Maryland, Smith learned to play by ear as a youngster to the sounds of Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and George Benson. As Smith grew as a guitarist and learned to read music, he tore up the stage for various jazz ensembles throughout his teen years. Once he graduated from high school, Smith auditioned for Uncle Sam and was quickly accepted as a guitarist in the Army Band.

As a member of the Army band, Smith toured Europe and began his studies at Elizabeth State University in North Carolina and eventually moved to the University of Phoenix, where he received a master's degree in organizational management.

Smith released his freshman CD, Long Time Comin in 2001. In 2002, Smith has released his debut CD, Laid Back. Got Groove was soon to follow in 2005. Recording CDs between the calls to serve his country has always been a challenge, but one Smith faces with great pride. "Serving my country has been the most rewarding and honorable experience that I have been associated with. As a musician, my duties include providing troop morale, community service and ceremonial support. There is no better way to support those who support you," said Smith.

Smith combines sexy R&B rhythms with old-school guitar lines that will leave you breathless. You hear touches of Wes Montgomery intermixed with ultra cool nighttime grooves that are all Ronny Smith. Smith's touch on the strings has a melodic voice without a heavy hand. He grooves, caresses and works his way through a song with maturity beyond his years. Take one listen and you'll be hooked and will want to keep your eyes out for this young lion on the rise.