Pianist Paul Smith, who died on June 30, 2013, at age 91, kind of flew under the radar on the jazz scene, perhaps because he worked so often outside that genre.
Smith was a first-rate accompanist and music director who worked with artists as diverse as Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Pat Boone and Nat (King) Cole. He was also the pianist and music director on The Steve Allen Comedy Hour on television for more than 25 years.
Smith also was also active in the recording studios, performing and arranging for film and TV scores and appearing on a wide range of recordings.
But let's not forget that he was also a prodigious jazz talent, which brings us to The Good Life (Discwasher, 1979), one of the first digitally recorded albums, and THE first digital release for the Discwasher label. It was issued only on vinyl. Smith was accompanied by Barney Kessel on guitar, Monty Budwig on bass and Frank Capp, drums.
The album was reissued in 1988 on the Voss label in LP, cassette and CD versions, but with a far more pedestrian cover.
Eight of the 10 tracks are standards, with one original each from Smith and Kessel. You can listen to Smith's composition below. The track is taken from the reissue.
Boppo for J.J.
The Good Life has occasionally changed hands at pretty high prices online, but used copies of both the original and reissue can be had on Amazon for about $10. The LP seems to be more common than the CD. The album isn't being sold as a download.
Liquid Sounds (Capitol, 1954) was an early release for Paul Smith and was issued on both a 10-inch LP and two 45 r.p.m. EPs. The session included Abe Most on clarinet, Julius Kinsler on flute and alto sax, Tony Rizzi on guitar, Sam Chieftz on bass and either Alvin Stoller or Irv Cottler, drums.
When Liquid Sounds was reissued on a Japanese CD in 2007 there were four bonus tracks, including What Is This Thing Called Love.