328

Jimmy Smith: Got My Mojo Workin/Hoochie Coochie Man

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
When compared to his Blue Note catalog, Jimmy Smith's Verve records have a reputation for being commercial. Despite artistic triumphs like Hobo Flats (1963), The Cat (1964), Peter & The Wolf (1966) and Bluesmith (1972), it could hardly get more commercial than these two albums, Got My Mojo Workin' from 1965 and Hoochie Coochie Man from 1966. Both albums contain an abundance of Smith's gutteral grunting and occasional raspy-voiced vocalizing (a weird combination of Keith Jarrett's moans and Muddy Waters' groans) and a program of rock cover tunes, well-known blues standards and contemporary big-band jazz. But Smith's organ grinding is faultless, swinging and when he solos, all is forgiven. The best of the material here is the four small-group tracks from Mojo , "Hi-Heel Sneakers" and "Mustard Greens" especially, where Smith's clever lines are ignited by Kenny Burrell's sterling guitar work.

Unfortunately, Oliver Nelson's arrangements often seem imposed as an afterthought on the rest of the material. By the time you get to the Hoochie Coochie Man music, things get a bit brassier. A harmonica consistently reinforces the blues orientation, but the goal is to crossover, much as Nelson's Impulse record Oliver Nelson Plays Michelle (recorded two months earlier) attempted. Again, when Smith solos, he rocks. The one magical moment here occurs on Nelson's intricate and evocative "Blues and the Abstract Truth." The song itself, first heard on Nelson's 1964 disc More Blues and the Abstract Truth , gets a marvelous workout here, due in no small measure to the energy and wit Smith invests in his straight-ahead abilities. Although this new twofer disc is correctly aimed at the acid-jazz crowd, it'd be nice, however, if Verve also brought back into circulation something like Peter & The Wolf , a much better document of the inspiration and invention of the collaborations between Jimmy Smith and Oliver Nelson.

| Record Label: Verve Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Eros" CD/LP/Track Review Eros
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Nine Thoughts For One Word" CD/LP/Track Review Nine Thoughts For One Word
by John Ephland
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Up North" CD/LP/Track Review Up North
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Two Hands, One Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Two Hands, One Heart
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Hatch and Host" CD/LP/Track Review Hatch and Host
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 25, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 18, 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!