All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Multiple Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

405

Organ Jazz: Jimmy Smith & Gloria Coleman

By

Sign in to view read count








Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith at Club Baby Grand, Vol. 1 & 2 (RVG)
Blue Note
2008


Gloria Coleman
Sweet Missy
Doodlin'
2008




Ever since pianist Wild Bill Davis made his landmark transition to the Hammond organ in 1950, jazz has never been the same. A device once deemed suitable strictly for church sanctuaries, baseball stadiums and skating rinks, the organ remains a central pillar of jazz instrumentation, with much of the credit falling on the shoulders of the (literally) Incredible Jimmy Smith, who would have turned 80 this month according to a disputed birthdate. Also a former pianist, Smith followed Davis' lead and quickly catapulted to superstardom via his successful relationship with Blue Note Records. The organ tradition lives on today, as jazz fans continue to celebrate and (more importantly) purchase recordings made by Smith and his renowned peers such as Jack McDuff, Larry Young and Jimmy McGriff. However, in 2008, the jazz organ phenomenon isn't simply confined to re-releases of albums from the '50s and '60s, as major talents like Dr. Lonnie Smith, Mike LeDonne and Gloria Coleman continue to perform live and regularly record both live and studio sets.

Nevertheless, it's safe to say that it was Jimmy Smith that truly started it all. As Blue Note slowly but surely makes available his numerous, long-out-of-print recordings from the '50s, jazz fans get to experience—in relatively chronological order—the sequence of events that led Smith from being a somewhat obscure trio leader performing in Delaware jazz haunts to claiming his title as one of the world's most popular and influential jazz figures. Live at the Club Baby Grand Vols. 1 & 2 takes us back to one of those aforementioned haunts in our 'First State' where five sets of music on an August day in 1956 resulted in Smith's debut live album. That same year, Smith made his first recordings for Blue Note, which are now compiled in Jimmy Smith At the Organ Vols. 1-3 (Volume 3 is the only one officially in print). For the date at the Baby Grand in Wilmington, Smith joined up with the two men that accompanied him on the second two volumes of At the Organ: Thornel Schwartz (guitar) and Donald Bailey (drums). Only one selection ("Get Happy") runs under nine minutes, as the trio finds no reason to get from point A to B in a timely fashion. Aside from Horace Silver's "The Preacher," all of the selections are standards that provide plenty of room for Smith to redefine the word 'virtuoso.' Various tempos are explored, such as the more relaxed one taken in a lovely rendition of "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" but the group truly shines on scintillating, upbeat numbers like "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Get Happy". On Baby Grand you won't find the cooled-out, laid-back soul jazz Smith would become famous for in the early '60s on Back at the Chicken Shack, et al. Here, he literally puts the pedal to the metal, resulting in fiery music that, were it actually played at a skating rink, might get the joint shut down due to melting ice!

Over 50 years later, in 2008, jazz-organist Gloria Coleman continues to honor the tradition pioneered by Smith with her new release Sweet Missy. The wife of famed tenor-sax man and Miles Davis-vet George (who appears here), Mrs. Coleman delivers a set more akin to the aforementioned early '60s Smith sessions; but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! In fact her work here recalls the wonderful music made by another famous tenor sax/organ husband and wife team: Stanley Turrentine and Shirley Scott. The main highlight of Sweet Missy arrives in what might be the most user-friendly version ever recorded of John Coltrane's "Impressions".

Both of these releases continue to keep alive the time-honored jazz organ tradition, which is apparently (and thankfully) here to stay.


Tracks and Personnel

Jimmy Smith at Club Baby Grand, Vol. 1 & 2 (RVG)

Tracks: Vol. 1: Sweet Georgia Brown; Where or When; The Preacher; Rosetta. Vol. 2: Caravan; Love Is A Many Splendored Thing; Get Happy; It's All Right With Me.

Personnel: Jimmy Smith: organ; Thornel Schwartz: guitar; Donald Bailey: drums.

Sweet Missy

Tracks: Do It Again; Too Close For Comfort; Martin's Rhumba; Sweet Missy; I Just Found Out About Love; Confirmation; Put 'em in a box, Tie 'em with a ribbon; Blues Everywhere; When Did You Leave Heaven; Impressions; Confirmation (alt. Take).

Personnel: Gloria Coleman: organ; George Coleman: tenor sax; Eric Johnson: guitar; Dr. Lonnie Smith: piano; George Coleman Jr.: drums; Deszon Clairborne: drums.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Jazzing Up Childhood Memories Multiple Reviews
Jazzing Up Childhood Memories
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 4, 2018
Read The Art of the Quintet: Voro Garcia and Magnus Thuelund Multiple Reviews
The Art of the Quintet: Voro Garcia and Magnus Thuelund
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: April 2, 2018
Read The Eclectic Sounds of ears&eyes Multiple Reviews
The Eclectic Sounds of ears&eyes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: March 27, 2018
Read Iain Matthews: Redefining Eclectic Multiple Reviews
Iain Matthews: Redefining Eclectic
by Doug Collette
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Minimalist Guitar: Clouds and Dreams Multiple Reviews
Minimalist Guitar: Clouds and Dreams
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 23, 2018
Read A Selection of Jazz on Sonorama Multiple Reviews
A Selection of Jazz on Sonorama
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Two Sides of John Wetton" Multiple Reviews Two Sides of John Wetton
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 20, 2017
Read "Jazzing Up Childhood Memories" Multiple Reviews Jazzing Up Childhood Memories
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 4, 2018
Read "The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble, et. al" Multiple Reviews The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble,...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "The Eclectic Sounds of ears&eyes" Multiple Reviews The Eclectic Sounds of ears&eyes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things Happen Slowly & Open Book" Multiple Reviews Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out" Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017