Patuxent CD-125 C.T. Smith - Plays Harold Arlen
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Maryland native Carey Smith began playing guitar at age 13 and was shortly thereafter exposed to jazz music. His influences include Joe Pass, Charlie Parker and local legend Danny Gatton. After a year playing professionally in the Czech Republic he began studying with Justin Lees and Steve Abshire. Carey has performed with John Jensen, Dave Wundrow, Robert Redd, Percy Smith, Bertell Knox and other greats of jazz music. He has released two albums for Patuxent Music: Introducing C.T. Smith and His Sic 'em Boys and C.T. Smith and Friends Play Harold Arlen.
Since before man has measured time he has employed it in the making of music. And since that universal pendulum began to swing, he has qualified this most essential creation, from the intolerable to the great. The former does not live long, if ever it does at all; the latter becomes a part of humanity at large. The ways in which we gauge those merits of our music are many and range from the most complicated technical arguments to the simple test of enjoyment. There is then the grueling course of history. By any standard, the music you hold before you will prove itself world-class.
Carey Smith's unrivaled work ethic, his technically impressive playing, and his profound sense of aesthetics are all evident here. Most impressive on this debut album, though, is his ability to choose and blend the right men for the job, then focus their strengths to pull off innovative arrangements of great tunes. He almost perfectly balances the traditions of the music he loves with the vitality and freshness of his age. His strength is a grand paradox that seems almost impossible: he is ambitious to the point of obsession, a perfectionist bent on being the best, looking forward to an ever receding horizon, never satisfied. Yet he humbles himself, measuring his progress by the merits of the greats who came before him. He considers his accomplishments and progress with a technical flashlight pointed to the past. His will and his work to become a distinguished guitarist are part of a greater want: to contribute to the great tradition and collaboration of jazz.