Johnny Smith, "Walk, Don't Run" guitarist, has died at 91 - Reverb

Johnny Smith, “Walk, Don’t Run” guitarist, has died at 90

Legendary jazz guitarist Johnny Smith plays the guitar at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He has played with the likes of Stan Getz and Charlie Parker. Photo by Kirk Speer special to the Denver Post.

Legendary jazz guitarist Johnny Smith plays the guitar at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has played with the likes of Stan Getz and Charlie Parker. Photo by Kirk Speer special to the Denver Post.

Johnny Smith, the legendary jazz guitarist famous for the standard “Walk, Don’t Run,” died Tuesday in his Colorado Springs home at the age of 90, NPR is reporting.

Smith wrote “Walk, Don’t Run” in 1954 and two versions of the song became chart topping hits — one by the Ventures and another by Chet Atkins. Widely hailed by guitarists and critics as an all-time-great, Smith would perform and associate with jazz legends including Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Stan Getz and Lester Young.

After writing “Walk, Don’t Run,” Smith moved to the Ivywild neighborhood of Colorado Springs in 1958, and he remained there for the remainder of his life.

In 2011 he told the Colorado Springs Independent of his low-key lifestyle that he enjoys “staying out of everybody’s way.”

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  • David R. Gleason

    In the late 1960′s and early 1970′s, we’d regularly see Johnny Smith perform solo at Shaner’s, on 17th and Welton Streets. He was soooooo good; unforgettable. RIP.