Smooth Jazz Guitar

Press releases/Reviews

All About Jazz

Guitarist/composer/educator Greg Smith attempts an ambitious synthesis within adult contemporary jazz intended to jettison his jazz vision from the maudlin confines of what passes for “smooth” jazz today. Smith is not satisfied with the cliché throbbing synthesizers and intellectually deprived virtuosity plaguing the majority of jazz ostensibly intended for greater crossover appeal.

Smith’s approach is successful in its intentions on Above The Clouds. This recording is a collection of original compositions that function as an integrated suite or “tone poem” of music that touches the corner of multiple genres in an effort to assimilate these differing styles into a cohesive uber-performance. Smith has a unique ability to compose hook-filled pieces that you may well be humming later in the day after one spin of the disc. Infectious pretty well describes the entire phenomenon. Add to this the technical aspects of reveberation with a slight delay, and the resulting sound is very much Smith's own.

The title track offers a lilting example of guitar made ethereal. Smith achieves a sitar-like tone that gives the song, constructed over Western harmonies, a decidedly Eastern flavor, like a hint of curry in one’s pasta. The solution of styles is provocative. Another example, “Mountain Hike,” immediately takes on a Monterey-to-San Francisco feel in Smith’s rhythum accompaniment to this solidly melodic song. Smith’s obbligato and improvised solos are thoughtful and cleverly constructed not to waste notes—likewise, the entire recording. Above The Clouds is Greg Smith’s shot across the bow of boring “smooth” jazz, showing that the genre can be much, much more.

my space/here and their reviews

Greg Smith "Above the Clouds" (self released) Tampa based guitar master Greg Smith has released a very nice CD here. Each song tells a story without vocals...but he does provide a storyline on the back of the CD. While at first you may think "New Age",don't. This goes way beyond that,the man can play and gets his story across as well. I thought of Acoustic Alchemy when I first heard this but I listened more intently,I heard a lot more different influences,country,jazz,a sprinkling of punk and above all,a artist supremely confident in his ability to make his guitar his voice.

The sound is spot on,engineer Tony Rockliff's knob turning is razor sharp,you can hear and see exactly what note Greg is playing. The CD features 14 great cuts,my favorites were "Chessmates" a song about two friends who play in Brooklyn everyday and "Mountain Hike" which explains itself. This is a perfect CD to play while relaxing after a hectic day. This kicks ass... recommended

Upbeat and More

The summer is about ice cream, cool breezes, suntan lotion, and swimming pools. The warmth on your cheeks and the bright lights in the sky could turn any bout of the blues into the warmest hues. Puppy dogs run through the weeds and make each patch of grass their own. That’s how the lackadaisical music found here will make you feel. These songs are a weight off your shoulder and a sigh of relief.

This album is about as sunny and sweet as a sun-dried raisin. Not to mention, it’s saturated with a flurry of Sno-Cones before it ever gets too parched. Greg Smith cooks cinnamon and spice in this caramel-corn creation. To produce such sundry selections, Smith uses a cornucopia of equipment. His gear consists of models from the collection of D’Angelico, Paul Reed Smith, Taylor, Gitane, and Yamaha. He even adds orchestrations by way of software package called Finale. Smith is the very definition of versatility. As the liner notes point out, he is well-versed in both straight-ahead and smooth jazz.

His repertoire also incorporates avante garde, rock, funch, afrocubun, pop, blues, country, folk, Brazilian, new age, and classical. If you like a good blend, you’re really in for a treat as this album traverses every bit of this terrain. To give you a better handle on his stature, Smith performs regularly in several groups across many genres. If you frequent the music scene in the city of Tampa Bay, you might find him performing as a solo acoustic guitarist. I must attest; this is where he excels the best.

Additionally, if it were necessary to drop names, he could confirm his involvement with Edger Winter, Chick Corea, Larry Coryell, Pat Metheny, Jeff Berlin, Glen Zottola, Juliette Lewis, and Manfredo Fest, plus numerous others. No matter how you slice it, he has the resume, the references, and the work experience. With that, I think we’ve covered all the bases. Without further ado, let’s peruse the crunchy clusters found inside this finger-licking good bucket of grub: Above the Clouds – He starts with an extraordinary instrumental. It’s a morning at Club Med followed by an afternoon at The Paradise Inn. The evening is capped off with cocktails and stogies inside The Gold Bar. The experiences chronicled here is more along the lines of The Flamingo Kid than a Bronx Tale. Only heaven can be found in this kitchen, which is why this is dedicated to the incredibly cloudy artwork of Jim Warren. The impressive design on the cover is supplied by this extremely doting artist. It’s an interesting culmination of white stallions in the sky. Even though there is overcast, your skin will receives plenty of sunlit beams and affable. There’s also a generous ration of gracious radiation. To soak up this song, all you need to do is lay back on the furnitute in the patio and hit play. Mountain Hike – This gets off the smooth road and onto a rustic path. It’s a little grimier than the last, but like a youngin’ in the mud, it’s pure unadulterated fun.

Stop Sign in Brazil – In these diarios de motocicleta, Ernesto and Alberto motor through the streets and alleys of several South American towns. A frog is snuggled inside the daypack that’s burrowed in the cargo hold. The amphibian whistles and croaks as they cruise along in their journey. D’s Dream – Like a Dreamsicle, it drips of orangey acrid syrup. You can’t help but lick this juicy wet stick. As if it were a sage, the guitar mystically overshadows the scene by hitting both low notes and lead sounds. Lava – This song flows down the cracks and crevices of a mountainside. This liquid monster is sinister in its intentions. It means to burn your flesh as the heat can be felt from miles away. Take awe in its beauty but heed its perilous warning.

Appaloosa – We only encounter the affirmative and upstanding citizens in this exultant rendition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The acoustics dominate the nomadic deserts whereas the dust devils roll passively through its isolated plains. This is quite different from the rest. It offers an intriguing reprieve from the other glossy prints.

Forties – Out of the scorching atmosphere presented by the last, we enter into this ventilated sitting room. This lounge features a pair of essential components. First, there’s a moody bass that’s far from basic. In parallel comes a jazzy guitar that’s attuned to be adjacent. In this glass, we mix ice tea with lemonade. Some call it a Floater while others say it’s an Arnold Palmer. If it’s spiked with something other than fruit or herbs then it’s certainly been extracted from rocks of Long Island. In any event, the results are purely crisp refreshment. Altogether this ditty is quite the way to take a load off. Moreover, the chairs are comfortable while the fans are set to full blast. By the way, the inspiration behind this song was a dream on the eve of the fortieth birthday of Smith’s wife.

Valgar – There is nothing vulgar about these expressions. The Calypso-inspired cadence accompanied by countless cackles and squawks instantly reminds me of Neal Morse’s “The Man Who Would Be King”. In case you didn’t know, the term is not a spelling error. Instead, it marks another special date on the calendar. Keeping in line with the naming convention previously established, it’s an allusion to his friend Gary and his mother-in-law Val’s mutual birthday.

Summer Sand – This is about as sparse as sand on a beach. The guitars provide the subtlest pull. With your toes sloshing about in these soggy tiny pebbles, you’re totally liberated by the tug of this shallow quicksand.

Calamity – With the clank of a mallet on solid hunk of wood, it sounds like roofers pounding their nails into the shingles and shale. Before their hands can tire, they lift a bottle of Corona to their lips. This invigorating beverage urges them onto to the next task. In the solution one can taste, a pang of maracas and a twist of lime.

Chessmates – As the Packer’s perform the Lambeau Leap, the Cheeseheads go wild. This game on the gridiron is a literal chess match. However, before the hut-hut-hike is to take place, no creature is stirring, not even a mouse. The only motion being made is the sweaty breath from these beasts of bastion as they stare their opponents down. It calm and volatile at the same time as the participants wait for the quarterback’s call.

Wren Song – Whether it’s African or European, estimating the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow should be easy when you hear the serene iterations flowing through this piece. It’s an offering of the olive branch, which makes it exceptionally peaceful. To accomplish its mission, several kinds of soft-spoken guitars accompany an outgoing piano.

Figaro Tree – In his innovations, he assimilates a String Quartet in this track. Throughout the album, he’s successfully kept his crop diverse. As we clear the final remaining corner, he applies another newfangled option. We get folk and flamenco coupled with the mariachi man’s aura. In a stretch of relaxing riffs, a drifter passes through the bridge in the middle.

Postitude: Back into the Clouds – This story ends where it begins with a dedication to bassist and composer, Chris Needy. As the water ripples, the original song refracts in the most tranquil of tracks. While the initial instrumental was great, there’s actually improvement seen in this particularly meticulous reflection. In summary, Greg Smith’s Above the Clouds is like a fresh waft of air after the rain in the summertime. If I were the weatherman in this world, I’d predict excellent conditions and scores of stunning days ahead. 8.25/10 [If you want to learn more on your own and willing to do a little self-study, visit Greg Smith at gregsmithguitar.com.]

Press/ Reviews

Paul from Mondoblu radio/Barcelona, Spain AvatarView from the Blu: "Above the Clouds" is one of those CDs that grabs you from the moment you put it on and pleads with you to listen to it. Greg moves from the New Age feel of the title track to the Americana of "Appaloosa", through World music and Jazz to a Classical divertimento with enviable ease. Don't miss his own descriptions of each track, which add an extra dimension to the music. All in all, if you're looking for an album that's intelligent and relaxing at the same time, give "Above the Clouds" a listen and you won't be disappointed. Also, "you have a great sound, beautiful and clear, lovely to listen to".

From jazz great Larry Coryell, "Greg is a great guitar player; he's got great technique, fabulous ideas, and his sense of timing is right on the mark. He's a true spiritual being with an unsurpassed seeking mind and will continue to fold the benefits of his humanistic quest into his ever-evolving musical expression."

more reviews...

James A. Williams/Philly PhatTracks We're happy to feature artist Greg Smith as this week's New Artist Spotlight on Philly PhatTracks. The single 'Above The Clouds' will be featured in this weekend's PhatTracks Countdown and included on our playlist. Info on this artist will also be featured soon in our New Artist Spotlight page on phillyphattracks.com. Go to our site http://www.phillyphattracks.com for the schedule and times for your local area. Best of luck. James A. Williams a.k.a. jawillie President and CEO Philly PhatTracks m

David White WHITESTER RADIO-SMOOTH JAZZ Honorable Mention #2 of the Month Greg Smith Clearwater, FL Photo Courtesy of GregSmithGuitar.com Having started with pop rock and blues in his preteens,Greg Smith rapidly progressed through his studies of jazz fusion, straight ahead jazz and chord melody. He attended Berklee College of Music in the early 1970s studying with Pat Metheny. Having been at it over 40 years, Greg has played everything from jazz to country, classical and beyond. He has studied with Larry Coryell who says,"Greg is a great guitar player;  he's got great technique, fabulous ideas, and his sense of timing is right on the mark". Greg has been composing since he began to play and has recently written a string quartet and a fantasia for viola, bassoon and full orchestra. Listen for the Greg Smith track "Above The Clouds" from his "Above The Clouds" CD on WHITESTER RADIO-SMOOTH JAZZ

Another review....

Mike James/ Smooth jazz and more radio central new york June 1st, 2006 Greg Smith – Above the Clouds 3 Stars out of 4 Guitarist Greg Smith is originally from Central New York. His artistic journey has brought him to the Tampa Bay, Florida area where he is a successful musician on the club circuit. In the past, he’s played with Larry Coryell, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea. His latest CD, entitled “Above the Clouds” is a musical journey through Jazz, New Age and a bit of Americana. The recording is a refreshing change of pace from the usual jazz routine. What I liked about Smith’s CD were helpful explanations of the tracks to on the liner notes. It gives the listener an insight to what Smith was thinking about while writing the tracks. Some tracks, like "Mountain Hike" were self explanatory and relaxing & some tracks like "Lava" leaves the listener enthralled. It's an interesting vision into a musicians thoughts. Thought provoking and fascinating.

Another review....

Upbeat and more webradio/Richard Kolp

Greg Smith's Above the Clouds is a transformation of spirit and guitar working in close proximity. It's teflon coating with just the right amount of sandpaper to keep you on your toes. His sense of phrasing and timing are impeccable. another review...

From CC Cool web radio Couple of days ago, I received an email from Greg Smith telling me about his new CD “Above the Clouds”. After listening to the album title song, I was sold. I couldn't resist buying the CD (http://cdbaby.com/cd/gregsmith) and add “Above the Clouds” to my playlist. Above the Clouds is a smooth jazz CD with a touch of world music and new age. I think Greg made it with Cool Radio in mind :)

Reviews/awards from garageband.com various reviewers Awards! Track of the Day on 24Jun2006 in Jazz Best Guitars in Jazz, week of 19Jun2006 Best Production in Jazz, week of 19Jun2006 Best Melody in Jazz, week of 19Jun2006 Chill-Out Track in Jazz, week of 12Jun2006 - Ahhhhh, peaceful and relaxing. Call me a sod, but I like the guitar artistry here. Great summer song. -intelligent music Beautiful performance, guitar lead is intelligent and the rhythm guitar chords is a wonderful blend! fantastic arrangement, never boring and always interesting melody going on! Mood is sweet and mellow -Joyful This song is very joyful and is a good song if your feeling bad. I the mood is comforting. The Performance is smooth and is great. -Very Beautiful !!! This song was very beautiful and the guitar was wonderful as was the bass and percussion. Really nice guitar playing !!! -Lovely melody A slight nautical feel to this, sailing and carefree summer holidays. A guitar/mandolin type sound playing a good melody and some subtle percussion spread well between the speakers making it slightly ambient. I really enjoyed the theme and the moves in this one. So performance competent and expressive - arrangement keeps it interesting and mood as I said summery and feeling good -Spotlight on the guitarist Nice blend of guitarist instrumentation. The arrangement good and production is overall pleasant and professional sounding. Nice job. -this is so cool... I feel so mellow right Now... Hey thanks Just what I needed. this is definitely one of the better songs I've heard today.

Another review...

David King/Cross Harp Chronicals web radio - Unlike music bound by traditional parameters, Greg's guitar playing is as boundless as his limits of personal interpretation. His music enveloped us in a positive sound that is as gentle as a cool summer breeze. We like where he is coming from, and more importantly where he takes us. - Dave King, Cross Harp Chronicles.

Very easy listening I had a head-ache before I put this track on, but it's clearing it away as I write this. It has to do with the wonderful tones of this song. I think it's the timbre variation that I enjoy, and the warmness of the overall sound. The guitar work is quite incredible, and the supporting cast is solid throughout. The rhythm is spot on. Very nice song, it should be on every smooth jazz station's play-list Extra Credit: Guitars.

Review in 20st century Guitar Magazine - August issue by Robert Silverstein Mixing straight ahead and smooth jazz, Brazilian and a touch of new age,guitarist Greg Smith strives towards gaining his own voice in the guitar world and finds it with his 2006 CD Above the Clouds. In the spirit of some of Pat Metheny’s jazzier ,less ethereal acoustic moments, Smith’s instrumental guitar sounds often defies easy category but either way he grooves the spirit is quite strong on Above the Clouds. Having studied in the early ‘70s at Berklee with Metheny, Larry Coryell and Jeff Berlin, the Florida based Smith is hardly a novice and throughout the CD he demonstrates a masterful touch on his PRS, Taylor, Gitane and Yamaha guitars, Above the Clouds is a well-recorded Cd filled with memorable guitar sounds.

From Joy IMIX radio: About Greg's CD:  About Greg's CD: Tracks are all very good. I found the newly released jazz CD "Above The Clouds" very essential to the listeners who enjoy Greg Smith's music to know what inspire him to write and compose a good melody and arrangements, and how the tunes relates to the "title". The back cover of this CD briefly described why he wrote the tunes, which for me are all very inspiring, original, and comes from the heart. Greg is brilliant and excellent, very confident as well, in his guitar playing. I have my favorites the title track "Above the Clouds", "Wren Song", a slow, haunting, and very beautiful melody, " Figaro Tree, and "Forties" "grooving" tunes, fast guitar playing are phenomenal. Overall,an excellent and enjoyable CD.

 

Review from well known Vermont journalist

I knew Greg Smith a long time ago, back in the days of the Woodstock Nation when the guitar was the town crier of the counterculture revolution and we were just adolescents and teenagers, soldiers in changing times. Greg Smith was already a virtuoso by then. It was difficult to tell whether the guitar and Greg were not one in the same or separate physical entities. He lived and breathed the guitar, playing it almost every minute that he was awake, always striving to discover what it could do, where it could go, and what untapped sounds lay within it. We went in different directions and lost touch with each other for thirty-five years until Greg suddenly found me out on the Internet. He and his guitar are still one in the same only more so, as if born together, grown up together, heart and soul with each other. His playing is ethereal, like nature. If nature made guitar-players like she made the clouds, the mountains, the ponds, rivers, and streams, the wildlife this is the way that she would have made them.