401

The Fantastic Jimmy Smith; At the Organ, Volume 3

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
It's often been said that the late Jimmy Smith did the same thing for the Hammond organ that Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and J.J. Johnson and Charlie Christian did for their instruments. That is, launch it into the age of modern jazz with a revolutionary approach, forever changing how it would be played. Two remastered reissues give a fascinating glimpse of that revolution in progress.

Jimmy Smith
The Fantastic Jimmy Smith
Empire Masterwerks
2005

The first disc, The Fantastic Jimmy Smith, was recorded from 1953-55 while Smith was a member of a Philadelphia group called the Sonotones, led by a drummer/singer named Don Gardner. It captures some of the organist's earliest sides. The album finds Smith in an embryonic stage, still mimicking the rollicking, block-chord style of his idol, Wild Bill Davis. The tunes covered are mostly standards like "Stranger in Paradise, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love and "Jeepers Creepers, along with a handful of fairly commonplace originals with titles like "Jimmy's Jam, "Jimmy's Swing and "Sonotone Bounce that evoke the blues and jump blues of then-popular stars like Earl Bostic and Big Joe Turner.

While there's nothing earth shattering here, it's solid, jazz-inspired R&B, a snapshot just before Smith's big breakthrough.

Jimmy Smith
At the Organ, Volume 3
Blue Note
2005

That breakthrough was just a few years away, as chronicled on this volume from June, 1956. It's a nearly unrecognizable Smith we hear now: more confident, more daring, more technically advanced. Using the Hammond's foot pedals to give his trio the feeling of a quartet (with a terrific bassist), he creates a thoroughly modern sound that combines elements of blues, funk and bebop never before attempted on his instrument.

Highlights include the bizarre, frog-like effect on the opening "Judo Mambo, some astonishing single-note soloing on "Willow Weep for Me and "Lover Come Back to Me, a blisteringly soulful take on Monk's "Well, You Needn't, and the surprisingly avant-garde conclusion to his Monk tribute "Slightly Monkish.

Fifty years later, these recordings sound amazingly fresh and modern, providing further testimony of how much this legendary jazz master is missed.


Tracks and Personnel

The Fantastic Jimmy Smith

Tracks: Stranger In Paradise, Jimmy's Jam, It's A Sin To Tell A Lie, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, I Had The Craziest Dream, I Heard A Rhapsody, Jeepers Creepers, Jimmy's Swing, Misery, Jughead, Tea For Two Mambo, Sonotone Bounce, Dancing On The Ceiling, I'll Walk Alone, Skokiaan.

Personnel: Jimmy Smith: organ; Al Cass: saxophone; unknown guitar, possibly Thornel Schwartz; Don Gardner: vocals, drums.

At the Organ, Volume 3

Tracks: Judo Mambo; Willow Weep for Me; Lover Come Back to Me; Well You Needn't; Fiddlin' the Minors; Autumn Leaves; I Cover the Waterfront; Jamey; My Funny Valentine; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Slightly Monkish.

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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August Rosenbaum Multiple Reviews The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 13, 2017
Read A Sense of Place Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017
Read David Murray Octets on Black Saint Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017
Read New and Notable Releases Multiple Reviews New and Notable Releases
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 4, 2017
Read Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues Multiple Reviews Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2017
Read The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants Multiple Reviews The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants
by Nigel Campbell
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants" Multiple Reviews The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants
by Nigel Campbell
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"" Multiple Reviews Three saxophonists very different paths since...
by John Eyles
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Cassette Plus Download Labels" Multiple Reviews Cassette Plus Download Labels
by John Eyles
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio" Multiple Reviews The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Psalms and Poetry: Den Danske Salmeduo and Nicolai Munch-Hansen" Multiple Reviews Psalms and Poetry: Den Danske Salmeduo and Nicolai...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Badbadnotgood Is Truly Goodgoodnotbad" Multiple Reviews Badbadnotgood Is Truly Goodgoodnotbad
by Dave Wayne
Published: December 20, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.