247

Jimmy Smith: Fourmost Return

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
An informal, occasionally rambling conversation between longtime colleagues,Fourmost Returnconsists of seven previously unreleased tracks from a 1990 live performance at Fat Tuesday’s in New York City. With an emphasis on blues material, the record is a no frills blowing session, a format ideally suited to the individual talents of organist and leader Jimmy Smith, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, guitarist Kenny Burrell, and the drums and cymbals of Grady Tate.

The quartet’s performance of Sonny Rollins’ “Sonnymoon For Two” sets the tone for the entire disc. Smith and Turrentine play the head in unison and Burrell takes the first solo. Riding Smith’s bass line and chords as well as interacting with Tate’s crisp snare drum accents, the guitarist begins with brief, almost casual lines, and gradually becomes both more fluid and dense, displaying an uncharacteristic sharpness of tone. Tate is even more assertive during Turrentine’s turn, anticipating his every move, and raising the rhythmic stakes with nicely timed cymbal crashes. Turrentine responds to all this stimulation with his best work of the set, efficiently melding a bebop-oriented approach and blues licks into a seamless whole. Smith dashes through his first chorus then pauses, letting a phrase or two sink in before impatiently moving on, constantly recasting similar elements while maintaining a kinetic groove.

Smith’s raspy, half-spoken vocal on “Ain’t She Sweet” leaves a lot to be desired in terms of technique, but the moment his solo begins none of this matters. His penchant for trafficking in extremes in the midst of building a coherent statement is gloriously in evidence. Abrupt shifts in dynamics; a sustained rush of notes followed by deck-clearing, keening chords; the hurly-burly of his lines temporarily converted into more relaxed interludes—all of these things frequently give one the feeling that Smith’s about to run aground; however, despite the implication of disorder he always lands on his feet.

Tate’s meticulous shuffle animates one of Smith’s signature compositions, “Back At The Chicken Shack.” The drummer’s trenchant fills enhance Burrell’s cogent blues playing, and also play a role in another agreeable solo by Turrentine. At first Smith responds to a strong backbeat by playing sixteenth note runs that both fly over and allude to it; then, his simpler phrasing incorporates Tate’s bedrock rhythm before again shifting to fleet passages and funky, chordal-framed interludes.

| Record Label: Fantasy Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Live In Ludwigshafen 1961" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Ludwigshafen 1961
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2016
Read "Starer" CD/LP/Track Review Starer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Four Plus Three" CD/LP/Track Review Four Plus Three
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Never Group" CD/LP/Track Review Never Group
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Musings" CD/LP/Track Review Musings
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!