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Jazz Articles | Blog

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

James Hughes & Jimmy Smith Quintet: Ever Up & Onward

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Detroit was once a vital jazz center, contributing some of the major hard bop artists of the 1960s: Hank, Thad, and Elvin Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Paul Chambers, Kenny Burrell, and Ron Carter, just to name a few. The James Hughes & Jimmy Smith Quintet honors that tradition by playing mostly original hard bop with real flair. In addition to being strong soloists, saxophonist James Hughes and trumpeter Jimmy Smith contribute all of the compositions and arrangements.

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Jimmy Smith: Groovin’ at Smalls Paradise – 1957

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I love the jazz organ. I love Jimmy Smith. But I don't love Groovin' at Smalls Paradise. When Smith burst onto the scene in 1956, he was a genuine phenomenon. Not only was he wildly popular, but also wildly prolific. In just three years, from 1956 to 1958, Smith put out a mind-boggling 23 albums. Blue Note had a bona fide star, and the label sure knew how to milk the craze. Some of those records ...

Jimmy Smith: Master of the Hammond B-3

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Jimmy Smith ignited a jazz revolution on an instrument associated at the time with ballparks, despite never playing one until the age of 28. His legendary multi-part technique on the Hammond B-3 organ, playing bass with the foot pedals and Charlie Parker-like single-line passages with his right hand, shook up the traditional trio as co-players could explore new roles. Yet, while the consensus is Smith's playing is a jazz landmark, his recordings fall short of such acclaim.

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Jimmy Smith: Midnight Special – Blue Note 4078

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The history of jazz is filled with great pairs: Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn--Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker--Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond--Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul. Add one more pair to the list: Jimmy Smith and Stanley Turrentine. Smith was the ground-breaking organist, steeped in the blues, who introduced the Hammond B-3 as a legitimate hard bop alternative to the piano. Turrentine was the legendary tenor saxman, steeped in the blues, who became synonymous with 1960s ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Jimmy Smith: A New Sound, A New Star, Vol. 1 and 2 – Blue Note 1512 and 1514

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Listening to Jimmy Smith's early recordings is like listening to Chuck Berry play “Johnny B. Goode." Today, every rock guitarist from junior high school on knows the riff and can play it by heart. But Chuck Berry did it first, and arguably best. There were no great rock guitar licks before Chuck Berry. He created the template. It's the same with Jimmy Smith. Today, there are dozens of jazz organists who can play bop, blues and beyond. They're ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: Plays Fats Waller

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Fats Waller, whose rollicking contributions have enlivened the American songbook since the 1930s, once wrote, “Well, I really love the organ. I can get so much color from it than the piano that it really sends me." About a generation later, Jimmy Smith fell in love with the Hammond B-3 organ.

Here in the company of guitarist Quentin Warren and drummer Donald Bailey (both of whom played on every Smith trio recording for five decades), the latter pays ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Organ Jazz: Jimmy Smith & Gloria Coleman

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Smith: Plays Fats Waller

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It makes sense that Jimmy Smith recorded an album's worth of Fats Waller tunes, since Waller himself was a pioneer on the organ in a jazz context. But it makes even more sense when you consider that Smith applied the single note runs of a pianist to his instrument, and Waller, no slouch on the piano himself, must have been an irresistible target for Smith's treatment.Despite the lineup, any of Jimmy Smith's Blue Note records are pretty much ...


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