All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
One night last spring in Chicago, four masters of the Hammond B-3 organ - Charles Earland, Lonnie Smith, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, and Jimmy McGriff - got together for a one-time-only showcase. The results are captured here on a must-buy album for jazz organ fans.
Each performer is featured in a brief solo segment, before all four join together for a funky, jam-session finale. Earland lives up to his nickname ("The Burner") with a sizzling version of the pop hit "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday." McGriff, the king of the organ blues, gets the crowd screaming with a pair of soul / blues improvisations. Dr. Lonnie Smith, usually a funk / groove player, offers an extended take on the standard "Cherokee."
It is Johnny "Hammond" Smith, though, who delivers the evening's most poignant performance. Seriously ill with cancer, he made a special trip from his home in California to take part in this concert, which would turn out to be his last. He died just 11 days later. Listen closely to his emotional reading of the ballads "This Masquerade is Over" and "Summertime" for an example of dignity and artistry in jazz.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.