Jimmy Smith: The Sermon; Organ Grinder Swing
Jumping ahead to 1965 and switching to the Verve label, Smith’s Organ Grinder Swing is a bit more diversified and features a steady trio lineup, with Kenny Burrell on guitar and Grady Tate on drums. The first three tracks are meat-and-potatoes blues, starting with the two-minute burner "The Organ Grinder’s Swing." Unlike The Sermon, here Smith’s vocalizations and grunts are quite audible, and they underscore the physical intensity of his playing. Following the slow blues "Oh, No, Babe" and the mid-tempo "Blues for J," the trio tackles a brisk 6/8 "Greensleeves," with Smith going off on the ending modal vamp. (This track seems to reflect the influence of Coltrane.) The chemistry between Smith and Burrell reaches a high point on the exquisite ballad "I’ll Close My Eyes." And the album finishes with a bright reading of "Satin Doll." Tate’s drumming throughout is Swiss-watch precise, and Burrell’s stinging, tasty tone serves as the perfect complement to Smith’s wailing organ. Here again, there are no alternate takes, no edited material — just the date, from start to finish, precisely as it went down.
Both albums are classic efforts by Jimmy Smith, who inarguably wrote the book on contemporary jazz organ. They’re also shining examples of the style of Kenny Burrell, who similarly wrote the book on organ-trio guitar.
The Sermon: 1. The Sermon 2. J.O.S. 3. Flamingo
Organ Grinder Swing: 1. The Organ Grinder
Personnel: The Sermon: Lee Morgan, trumpet; Lou Donaldson, George Coleman, alto sax; Tina Brooks, tenor sax; Kenny Burrell, Eddie McFadden, guitars; Jimmy Smith, organ; Art Blakey, Donald Bailey, drums
Organ Grinder Swing: Jimmy Smith, organ; Kenny Burrell, guitar; Grady Tate, drums