It was through his early work on Blue Note that the world-shattering innovations of Jimmy Smith first reached the record buying public. Pure be-bop was the order of the day and aside from a special guest or two thrown in from time to time, Smith worked mainly in a trio context. Then the organist left for Verve Records and producer Creed Taylor broadened Smith’s horizons by recording him with large ensembles, not to mention getting him to add a bluesy vocal to a cut here and there. The 1965 Verve set Organ Grinder Swing was somewhat of a return to form, Smith once again working in a trio with guitarist Kenny Burrell and drummer Grady Tate.
Newly remastered in 24-bit form and packaged in a deluxe gatefold, this album has always been one of Smith’s finest straight ahead affairs. There’s a bit of something for all tastes- from the slow blues of “Oh No, Babe” to a blistering “Greensleeves” that proves once and for all that Smith brought Coltrane’s “sheets of sound” to the organ in a manner that few could equal, with the exception of Larry Young. Burrell and Tate wax poetic throughout and Rudy Van Gelder’s state of the art engineering, now sounding even better in remastered form, provides the crystal clear luminescence. Simply put, Organ Grinder Swing is a must-hear and a must-own and worth picking up in this new incarnation.
Track Listing: Jimmy Smith (organ), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Grady Tate (drums)
Personnel: The Organ Grinder's Swing, Oh No, Babe, Blues for J, Greensleeves, I'll Close My Eyes, Satin Doll
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.