Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.


Jimmy Smith: Root Down

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Much of the music on Jimmy Smith’s Root Down seems tailor-made for sampling by today’s hip-hop and electronica artists. Small wonder that the Beastie Boys had a hit in 1994 with their rap version of the title track. On this 1972 reissue, three of the album’s original tracks are restored to their full, unedited length and a sluggish alternate take of "Root Down (and Get It)" is also included.

Although this was supposed to be Smith’s foray into hard-edged funk, the organ master’s rootedness in the blues is everywhere apparent: "Root Down" is actually a 32-bar blues with a polyrhythmic bridge, and the hyped-up, 70s-to-the-core groove vehicles "Sagg Shootin’ His Arrow" and "Slow Down Sagg" share comparable blues-based structures. A smoking version of Avery Parrish’s "After Hours" showcases Smith in a more traditional slow-blues mode. And covers of Al Green’s "Let’s Stay Together" and Peter Chase’s "For Everyone Under the Sun" take the album into more laid-back, pop-soul territory.

Smith’s organ work is smooth and fiery in equal proportion. Arthur Adams plays burning, overdriven guitar solos and picture-perfect wah-wah rhythm parts. Bassist Wilton Felder (of the Jazz Crusaders), drummer Paul Humphrey, and percussionist Buck Clarke make up the formidable rhythm section, laying down the grooves that make the record a masterpiece of 70s instrumental funk.

Track Listing: 1. Sagg Shootin

Personnel: Jimmy Smith, organ; Steve Williams, harmonica (track 3); Arthur Adams, guitar; Wilton Felder, bass; Buck Clarke, congas, percussion; Paul Humphrey, drums

Title: Root Down | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach" CD/LP/Track Review The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Great Lakes" CD/LP/Track Review Great Lakes
by Doug Collette
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by John Kelman
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "Opening Statement" CD/LP/Track Review Opening Statement
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Town And Country" CD/LP/Track Review Town And Country
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 1, 2017