All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

124

Tab Smith: Top 'n' Bottom

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Here are twenty–one danceable and gently swinging numbers recorded in 1953–54 by the underrated (and almost forgotten) saxophonist Tab Smith who shows clearly why he was held in such high regard by Count Basie, Lucky Millinder and others for whom he worked as a sideman. Smith, who nimbly straddles Jazz’s swing and contemporary eras, displays a strong Lester Young influence on tenor, while his creamy alto (heard on most selections) enkindles memories of such early pioneers as Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Willie “The Lion” Smith and Benny Carter (sounding much like Benny on the bouncy title track and the standard “In a Little Spanish Town”). While Smith is loose and comfortable at any tempo, he’s especially effective on romantic ballads such as “My Ideal,” “Prisoner of Love,” “Imagination” and “Don’t Take Your Love from Me,” and makes another powerful statement on Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” The vocalists (on “I’m a Bouncin’ Mama,” “For Only You,” “If You Believe in Me,” “Crying My Blues Away,” “Baby Please Don’t Go,” “They Call Me a Fool”) aren’t identified, nor are most of the other personnel. The set closes with a straightforward Basie–like head arrangement entitled “Zig Zag” on which Smith’s athletic alto burns a deep and impressive groove. But this is the exception; most of the selections are more solicitously produced (and sometimes reinforced by an echo–chamber effect, especially on the ballads). For those who dig the accessible and unpretentious sounds of the Swing Era, a real treat.

Contact:Delmark Records, 4121 N. Rockwell, Chicago, IL 60618. Phone 773–539–5001; fax 773–539–5004. Web site, www.delmark.com


Track Listing: Top

Personnel: Tab Smith, alto, tenor sax; Irving Woods, trumpet; Charlie Wright, Robin Darby, tenor, baritone sax; Teddy Brannon, Lavern Dillon, piano; Wilfred Middlebrooks, Lloyd Anderson, bass; Walter Johnson, drums. Other personnel unidentified.

Title: Top 'n' Bottom | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Delmark Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Ellipse CD/LP/Track Review
Ellipse
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 23, 2018
Read While We Still Have Bodies CD/LP/Track Review
While We Still Have Bodies
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 23, 2018
Read Ghost Town Blues Band CD/LP/Track Review
Ghost Town Blues Band
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2018
Read Toot Suite CD/LP/Track Review
Toot Suite
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 23, 2018
Read Love + Time + Divination CD/LP/Track Review
Love + Time + Divination
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2018
Read Gleb Kolyadin CD/LP/Track Review
Gleb Kolyadin
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 22, 2018
Read "Vista" CD/LP/Track Review Vista
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 29, 2018
Read "Life at Nectar's" CD/LP/Track Review Life at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "Screen Sounds" CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Loafer's Hollow" CD/LP/Track Review Loafer's Hollow
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Sing House" CD/LP/Track Review Sing House
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 11, 2017