Published on May 11th, 2012 | by Sam5
Johnny Smith-Maid with the Flaxen Hair
In keeping with the recent Johnny Smith mood, this month’s transcription is from the Johnny Smith/George Van Eps solo recording, Legends: Solo Performances. Johnny Smith’s complex playing is highlighted here with the tune, “Maid With the Flaxen Hair.”
Performance Notes: This solo is played very freely. It would be a great idea to listen to the original recording to get the feel for his playing here since it does not really follow the pulse very often.
It’s interesting that he throws in a lot of large barre chords, considering the complexity of his playing most of the time. It balances the sound though, and makes the ‘special’ chords sound even more special.
Bars 8 & 9 have a great open B string running throughout the chords. Finally, at the end in bars 39-41 pay close attention as each phrase is slightly different. Great attention to detail.
Song Notes: The tune is written by Claude Debussy, the famous French composer. It’s a good fit for Johnny Smith as Debussy was frequently sited as one composer who really stretched the harmonic possibilities to what now call ‘jazz chords.’ Johnny Smith recorded this on electric guitar as well (see the YouTube video), but my transcription is from the Solo Performances recording where Johnny played an acoustic guitar. The arrangement is very similar.
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Maid With the Flaxen Hair-PDF download