Amazon.com Widgets

Recent Articles

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Jimmy Smith: A New Sound, A New Star, Vol. 1 and 2 – Blue Note 1512 and 1514

Read "Jimmy Smith: A New Sound, A New Star, Vol. 1 and 2 – Blue Note 1512 and 1514" reviewed by

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 all funky, they all have chops. But without Jimmy Smith, there would be no jazz organ. So listening ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: Plays Fats Waller

Read "Plays Fats Waller" reviewed by

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 tribute to the former. Smith offers very little melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic improvisation, and seems to place some of Waller's ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Organ Jazz: Jimmy Smith & Gloria Coleman

Read "Organ Jazz: Jimmy Smith & Gloria Coleman"

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 church sanctuaries, baseball stadiums and skating rinks, the organ remains a central pillar of jazz instrumentation, with much of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: Plays Fats Waller

Read "Plays Fats Waller" reviewed by

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 the same and delivered at a consistently high level of musicianship. This one, originally released in 1962, is notable as ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

The Fantastic Jimmy Smith; At the Organ, Volume 3

Read "The Fantastic Jimmy Smith; At the Organ, Volume 3"

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 2005

The first disc, The Fantastic Jimmy Smith, was recorded from 1953-55 while Smith was a member of a Philadelphia ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: Me and Mr. Johnson

Read "Me and Mr. Johnson" reviewed by

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 best known for his soulful, swinging B-3 records from the '50s and '60s, and his influence on contemporary B-3 players ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: Softly As A Summer Breeze

Read "Softly As A Summer Breeze" reviewed by

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 originally released on a pair of jukebox-targeted 45 rpm singles and were included as bonus tracks on the album's first ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: Music for Lovers

Read "Music for Lovers" reviewed by

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 this thoughtfully packaged collection is a version of “My One and Only Love" where the clearly dominant lyrical voice is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: Retrospective

Read "Retrospective" reviewed by

He might not have been the first jazz organist, but Jimmy Smith's place in jazz history as the first to modernize and popularize its use as a featured jazz instrument is secure. His innovative style created the sub-genre of organ jazz, which many have followed. When he died this past February at age 76, Smith was rejuvenating his career artistically; he was nominated as “best organist by the Jazz Journalist Association this year.

Released last fall, the four-CD Retrospective was part of the Smith renaissance, but since his passing, it stands as a tribute to his early career and the ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

More Verve Vocalists: New LPRs

Read "More Verve Vocalists: New LPRs"

Ella Fitzgerald Hello, Dolly! Verve 2005 (1964)

There's an odd bit of trivia contained in this album. The biggest hit from the record, Ella's version of the Beatles' “Can't By Me Love, shows how widespread the influence of rock and roll became (which eventually spelled the downfall of jazz as a popular music.) Yet it was Louis Armstrong's version of “Hello Dolly that eventually knocked the Beatles from the top spot on the charts. It should come as no surprise that “Can't Buy Me Love was the hit from this record in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith: Legacy

Read "Legacy" reviewed by

Released one week after the sudden death of Jimmy Smith on February 8, the new album by organist Joey DeFrancesco was the last recording featuring Smith, the man who revolutionized the Hammond B-3 by creatively incorporating it into the jazz idiom. First playing the organ at age four and performing playing gigs at ten with Richard “Groove" Holmes and Brother Jack McDuff, DeFrancesco has almost singlehandedly revived the popularity of the Hammond B-3 over the past fifteen years.

His Legacy, with Smith, is an extremely diverse and rich project. Almost no stones in various jazz genres are left unturned. It ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: Home Cookin'

Read "Home Cookin'" reviewed by

"The Incredible Jimmy Smith cemented his reputation as the king of jazz organ during his prolific residency at Blue Note from 1956-63, as both a leader and collaborator with labelmates. His popularity and record sales helped the label grow and foster new talent. When he returned to Blue Note later in his career, it was only appropriate that they revisit and restore those early releases so essential for Smith's, and Blue Note's, legacy. Home Cookin' is the seventh and latest Smith reissue remastered by Rudy Van Gelder for the RVG series. On this material drawn from three ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: The Fantastic Jimmy Smith

Read "The Fantastic Jimmy Smith" reviewed by

If you're ignorant like I was, you may have thought that A New Sound, A New Star featured the very first Jimmy Smith recordings. But actually he recorded a number of singles a few years before that for the obscure Bruce label. The fact that these early recordings have been out of print for forty years is surprising, given the insatiable appetite of Smith fans for his work. But Empiremusicwerks has recently reissued these early tracks, giving us a glimpse into the evolution of the man who invented the Hammond B-3 sound.

However, don't expect the churning, fiery ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith: Legacy

Read "Legacy" reviewed by

There have been many great practitioners of the Hammond organ in jazz history, including Shirley Scott, Groove Holmes, Charles Earland, and Larry Young. Today, Dan Wall and Larry Goldings have helped bring the organ back to the forefront. But perhaps no one can claim the overall impact of the late Jimmy Smith. His harmonic conception and technical prowess are now legendary. Spanning four decades of jazz history, Smith helped define the organ and guitar tradition with folks like Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, and George Benson.Joey DeFrancesco, the organ prodigy who met Smith as a child, and whose father, ...



Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Community Members

Join our growing community of
writers, musicians, visual artists and advocates.

Join Us Today!

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.