Listening to Jimmy Smith's early recordings is like listening to Chuck Berry play Johnny B. Goode." Today, every rock guitarist from junior high school on knows the riff and can play it by heart. But Chuck Berry did it first, and arguably best. There were no great rock guitar licks before Chuck Berry. He created the template. It's the same with Jimmy Smith. Today, there are dozens of jazz organists who can play bop, blues and beyond. They're ...read more
Fats Waller, whose rollicking contributions have enlivened the American songbook since the 1930s, once wrote, Well, I really love the organ. I can get so much color from it than the piano that it really sends me." About a generation later, Jimmy Smith fell in love with the Hammond B-3 organ.
Here in the company of guitarist Quentin Warren and drummer Donald Bailey (both of whom played on every Smith trio recording for five decades), the latter pays ...read more
Jimmy Smith Jimmy Smith at Club Baby Grand, Vol. 1 & 2 (RVG) Blue Note 2008 Gloria Coleman Sweet Missy Doodlin' 2008
Ever since pianist Wild Bill Davis made his landmark transition to the Hammond organ in 1950, jazz has never been the same. A device once deemed suitable strictly for ...read more
It makes sense that Jimmy Smith recorded an album's worth of Fats Waller tunes, since Waller himself was a pioneer on the organ in a jazz context. But it makes even more sense when you consider that Smith applied the single note runs of a pianist to his instrument, and Waller, no slouch on the piano himself, must have been an irresistible target for Smith's treatment.Despite the lineup, any of Jimmy Smith's Blue Note records are pretty much ...read more
It's often been said that the late Jimmy Smith did the same thing for the Hammond organ that Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and J.J. Johnson and Charlie Christian did for their instruments. That is, launch it into the age of modern jazz with a revolutionary approach, forever changing how it would be played. Two remastered reissues give a fascinating glimpse of that revolution in progress.
Jimmy Smith The Fantastic Jimmy Smith Empire Masterwerks ...read more
Back in the day, when you said organ, you were talking about one of two things: a part of the body or the Hammond B-3. Jazz organ masters like Larry Young and Jimmy Smith did not play the Minimoog or the Casio Tectronic, they played the B-3. Nowadays the kids are picking up a new keyboard a week, whatever the latest gadget may be, but they still can't play the original organ from 1955.
Philadelphia-bred organ master Jimmy Smith is ...read more
An oddity and supporting cast player in the Jimmy Smith canon, Softly As A Summer Breeze is nonetheless a welcome addition to Blue Note's Rudy Van Gelder remasters programme, bringing together three distinct sessions with partially overlapping personnel. All the evidence suggests the first four tracks were originally recorded for a Kenny Burrell album which was never released, and the next two for a Jimmy Smith set which likewise didn't materialise. The final four tracks, featuring vocalist Bill Henderson, were ...read more
This Music for Lovers compilation is probably the most restrained Jimmy Smith collection ever compiled, and it allows a rarely presented side of Smith's work from 1957-1960 to be spotlit. It's also an ideal showcase for Smith as delicately tasteful accompanist. An apt comparison would be to Oscar Peterson during the '50s. All that virtouso grandstanding could chill to a hush when he accompanied, say, Billie Holiday. The same is true about Smith. The first tune of ...read more