Jimmy Smith: Retrospective (2004)
In over four hours of music spread across four discs, this collection demonstrates how Jimmy Smith revolutionized the Hammond B-3 as a jazz instrument of expressiveness and versatility, both as a sideman and as a leader. The usual Blue Note stars are here: Lou Donaldson's alto sax illuminates "Summertime" and cries the blues on "All Day Long"; on "Groovy Date," Donaldson anchors a front line that includes Hank Mobley blowing crystalline tenor and Donald Byrd on trumpet; and on "Yardbird Suite," guitarist Kenny Burrell strums bebop licks while the beat is swung on all these tracks and others by the great Art Blakey.
Through it all Smith plays creatively from a seemingly endless fountain of ideas, supplying bass lines, vamps and solo runs as warranted. On trio cuts, it's Smith and his guitarist who connect telepathically, first with Thornel Schwartz, later with Burrell and Eddie McFadden, finally with Quentin Warren, all of whom comp masterfully and contribute sharp, penetrating solos. Jackie McLean, Ike Quebec, George Coleman, and Lee Morgan put in appearances, and disc four features what might have been Smith's best known band, with Stanley Turrentine and his freshly youthful tenor leading the way on cuts like "Back at the Chicken Shack" and "Midnight Special."
Smith's sound is iconic: cool and blue on the lower end of the scale, simmering in the midrange, piercing with vibrato on the upper end. This retrospective offers Smith's approach to popular standards and Monk, takes you to church and delivers consistently excellent and infectiously funky-bluesy tunes, one after another. You get the sense that these guys can deliver these performances on demand, effortlessly.
And it's all here in one beautiful package: Francis Wolff's photos of Smith and his collaborators in action, a well-written essay by Bob Blumenthal, complete recording information and 38 Jimmy Smith grooves to suit every mood, all recorded in immaculate Rudy Van Gelder style. Load the changer and let 'em purr.
Track Listing: 1 You Get Cha'; 2 The Preacher; 3 The Champ; 4 Bayou; 5 Judo Mambo; 6 Willow Weep for Me; 7 Fiddlin' the Minors; 8 Well, You Needn't; 9 Get Happy; 10 Groovy Date; 11 Yardbird Suite; 12 Summertime; 13 All Day Long; 14 14 The Duel; 15 I Can't Get Started; 16 Body and Soul; 17 Slightly Monkish; 18 Blues After All; 19 Round Midnight; 20 The Shermon; 21 Flamingo; 22 Hackensack; 23 I Got a Woman; 24 See See Rider; 25 When Johnny Comes Marching Home; 26 Sista Rebecca; 27 Old Folks; 28 Back at the Chicken Shack; 29 Minor Chant; 30 Midnight Special; 31 The Jumpin' Blues; 32 Squeeze Me; 33 Ain't No Use; 34 Pork Chop; 35 Can Heat; 36 Come Rain or Come Shine; 37 Prayer Meetin'; 38 Fungii Mama.
Personnel: Jimmy Smith, organ; Thornel Schwartz, Kenny Burrell, Eddie McFadden, Quentin Warren, guitar; Lou Donaldson, Hank Mobley, Ike Quebec, Jackie McLean, Stanley Turrentine, George Coleman, Tina Brooks, saxophones; Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Donald Bailey, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, drums; others.