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Stuff Smith: Hot Stuff

Florence Wetzel By

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After a long career in the United States, the great jazz violinist Stuff Smith (1909-67) moved to Copenhagen in 1965. Many recordings exist from this fertile period in Smith's career. The new CD Hot Stuff is a reissue of the previously out-of-print Live at Montmarte , recorded in 1965, combined with four tracks from Hot Violins , recorded in 1966.

Live at Montmarte is a concert from Copenhagen's Jazzhus Montmarte and features Kenny Drew on piano, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on bass, and Alex Riel on drums. The nine tracks include four Smith originals as well as classics such as "Take the A Train," "Mack the Knife," and "The Girl from Ipanema." The group shines throughout, lyrical and lilting on the ballads, exuberant and fiery on the up-tempo numbers. The material from Hot Violins features Smith with fellow violinist Svend Asmussen, Jorgen Borch on piano, Erik Molbaek on bass, and Bjarne Rostvold on drums. Again the songs are a combination of Smith originals and standards, like "C-Jam Blues," "Caravan" and "Oh, Lady, Be Good!" Several of the songs include vocals by Smith and Asmussen, and the group's energy and laughter make it clear they're having a very good time.

Jazz has many faces, but perhaps its joyous aspect is its most appealing. With his effervesence and effortless swing, Smith epitomizes this side of jazz, and you can't help but give over to the music's buoyancy. Jazz was going through tremendous upheavals in the mid '60s; original masters such as Smith were often lost in the changes, but Hot Stuff makes it clear that this is music for all times.

Track Listing: Skip It / The Girl From Ipanema / Tenderly / Take The A Train / Bugle Blues / I Can't Get Started / Mack The Knife / Blues For Timme / Old Stinkin' Blues / The C-Jam Blues / Caravan / Timme's Blues / Oh, Lady Be Good!

Personnel: Stuff Smith, Svend Asmussen - violin & vocal Kenny Drew, J

Title: Hot Stuff | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Storyville Records

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