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wesbed

Groovin at Small's sound quality?

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I keep meaning to purchase Jimmy Smith’s Groovin’ at Small’s Paradise but never do because it’s a double disk set. It’s one of the two or three RVGs I don’t yet own. I read, if I remember correctly, that the recording quality is not too good?

I buy the music for the music, however, I do appreciate a good sound if it’s available. I read, via the ‘former’ BNBB, some opinions that Groovin’ at Small’s Paradise is no better or possibly worse than Blakey’s Meet You at the Jazz Corner regarding the sound quality. Is this true? Also, how does Groovin’ at Small’s Paradise compare to the RVG of Rollin’s Live At the Village Vanguard?

I believe Live At the Village Vanguard’s sound quality is good enough to really enjoy. I also like Meet You at the Jazz Corner. I have no problem with the screeching and buzzing that some have written about.

How does Groovin’ at Small’s Paradise compare? I’m sure the playing is fantastic regardless of the quality of the sound.

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wesbad, I think "Groovin' At Small's Paradise" may be Jimmy's ultimate tour de force. His playing is so far and above the comprehension of mere mortals that it boggles the mind. Great. The sound quality if pretty good imho. The organ sounds rough, wild and loud! The guitar isn't far behind in the wild sounding department. Distorted, one of the lost joys of jazz guitar. I'm sure B3-er will have some comments but that's my little 2 cents. Get it! :)

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I would get it for the playing alone. I agree with Soulstream on that one. Jimmy at his wildest. Some of it is mind-boggling, some of it is downrigth too much in my opinion, but it's all amazing.

The sound quality isn't great, but I don't think it detracts from the music. I don't think Bluenote had figured out how to record live yet. Or maybe the equipment just wasn't up to snuff. Whatever the reason, it is kind of rough, but the music far outweighs that concern.

GET IT! B)

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I'd have to agree with both SS and b-3er, sound quality aside (it ain't great, but it ain't bad for a live rec from 1957), Jimmy is wild and, at times, a bit too much for my liking ... but I would recommend picking it up and letting your ears be the judge!

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Some is downright too much. But it's so wild and overwhelming you have to dig it. There was absolutely no "edit" function in Jimmy's brain at that point. His later playing seems to be a refinement of his genius. Groovin at Smalls is his genius laid bare, puking from the speakers. That MF was crazy.

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"... puking from the speakers ..." LOL!! A more descriptive phrase I have not heard in a long time!

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What do you guys consider the "standout" tracks? I've listened to this maybe twice, and it hasn't grabbed me yet. Think I'll go put 'er on, now.

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Parkertown, just give it a little while. Try to imagine being there at that place and time. Jimmy Smith virtually came out of nowhere and was playing like THAT! His genius viruosity, Monk-ish funk, Coltrane-ish phrasing...in the late 50's that was like seeing a spaceship when people were still flying prop planes. :D

Give it time to sink in. If you do, I think it'll grow on you.

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Hey Soul Stream,

I really enjoyed the listen a couple of hours ago, but only got thru about half the first disc. I was noddin' along. :)

But I must say, IMO, the sound quality is first rate. I'm listening to the RVG, and I would consider it one of the good ones. Treble is just right, not too much. But the bass is incredible! Jimmy's bass pedals, hell, even McFadden's guitar has an awesome tone.

I'm diggin' this one alright, but sometimes I miss having horns. But, as you say, Jimmy seems to be singing like a horn at times.

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haha, puking from the speakers reminds me of a comment a local cat I know who's friend responded to Jaco's bass by saying "he puked all over the fretboard!" :)

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Wesbed,

Yes, the drummer is somewhat laid back in the soundstage and the guitar sounds a little bit dull by today's standards...also, it is difficult to figure out how the surrounding acoustics were, but that is possibly a deliberate choice by Rudy, given the level of ambient noise(chats, laugh, drinks noises).Nevertheless, the organ sound is very, very good, back to 1957.

I originally bought the 2 BN Lp 1585 and 1586 in 1962 at 2 months time interval (short of money at that time... :g ) and repeated playings wore them down completely until I was able to buy the RVG set...A super buy, for one accustomed to the 8 original tracks of the LP's, I discovered the extras Champ, Walkin , Can't give you...,and Paper Moon

Talk about a great deal...So it is difficult to select 'stand out' tracks, but I still love Lover Man, Funny Valentine and Laura more than the others for their beautiful melodic lines.

Soul Stream is right : this is most probably THE Jimmy album to get....

Edited by michel devos

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This was my first and favorite Jimmy Smith, and made me want to check out more organ players in general. I had previously been quite prejudiced against the organ, but this record blew me away.

Also check out the Sermon -- I know there are mixed opinions of this one, but as soon as I heard it, I transcribed the melody and played the F-Blues with my not-so-good-sounding organ sound on my Yamaha P-80 for the rest of the day. Definitely in my top 5 favorite jazz songs of all time...

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I too had not picked up the GROOVIN AT SMALLS RVG because of the 2disc factor (don't most double CD sets sell for LESS than twice the singles. Blue Note stumps me on this one) and the reports of sound quality.

I was encouraged by Soul Stream and B3ers comments to got ahead and get it especially since I tend to like Jimmy's wilder stuff.

This is a GREAT set!! May be my new favorite Jimmy!!

I've heard many STUDIO recordings from the 50's that don't sound that good.

The suprise for me is McFadden who I always considered adequate but he was really on this night.

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I'm in deep with Jimmy at Small's this morning. I'm listening to Jimmy's version of 'My Funny Valentine' as I type these words. I wish I could go back in time and see him play it live at Small's.

I'm amazed at the quality of the sound in this 1957 live recording. I can hear every note from Smith's organ as well from Eddie McFadden's guitar. The notes are crisp, precise, and clear.

Some have written that the two disks worth of this material are too much. This morning, for me, the two disks are barely enough. I intend to listen to the entire set before I'm done. When Jimmy hits his groove I have no choice but to go with him.

Jimmy Smith and Eddie McFadden play off each other as if they've known each other forever. Jimmy doesn't seem as crazy and wild, to me, as has been written regarding the GROOVIN AT SMALLS session. This is bare bones Jimmy Smith. Right there in your face, yet visible at a safe distance if you prefer. Smith sounds funky, groovy, jazzy, very inspired, warm, and friendly.

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I must be in the minority on this one but I've listened to Volume 1 a few different times and I couldn't just get into it. This disc just didn't make it for me.

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Jimmy Smith virtually came out of nowhere and was playing like THAT!  His genius viruosity, Monk-ish funk, Coltrane-ish phrasing...in the late 50's that was like seeing a spaceship when people were still flying prop planes.

Yes. A very accurate description of this music. I hear Monk and Trane in Smith's music recorded live at Small's.

Due to the Trane-ish sound of Smith's organ I can sense a bit of Larry Young. I know Larry Young arrived after Jimmy Smith and John Coltrane. It makes sense that Young would have been affected by both players.

I wonder how much influence Coltrane had in 1957? Would it have been enough to make an impression on the style and technique of Jimmy Smith? Or did Smith and Trane develop a sameness of style, so to speak, due to other developments that affected jazz as a whole?

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Jimmy Smith virtually came out of nowhere and was playing like THAT!  His genius viruosity, Monk-ish funk, Coltrane-ish phrasing...in the late 50's that was like seeing a spaceship when people were still flying prop planes.

Yes. A very accurate description of this music. I hear Monk and Trane in Smith's music recorded live at Small's.

Due to the Trane-ish sound of Smith's organ I can sense a bit of Larry Young. I know Larry Young arrived after Jimmy Smith and John Coltrane. It makes sense that Young would have been affected by both players.

I wonder how much influence Coltrane had in 1957? Would it have been enough to make an impression on the style and technique of Jimmy Smith? Or did Smith and Trane develop a sameness of style, so to speak, due to other developments that affected jazz as a whole?

Not sure, but Trane played with Jimmy before he joined Miles's group.

Guy

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i like "the champ", especially the start of the song

i got this cd set for a b-day/ x-mas gift a couple years back

ss1

fwiw

i'd seen the 2 tocjs last week

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Forget this one :ph34r:

Edited by michel devos

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I confirm the sound quality is very good, even when compared to more contemporary standards...When checking Groovin' at Small's against the more recent reissue "The Boss", one notices the failures of the latter recording : lack of space, artificial reverb, the only thing that gets "improved" from the LP issue is the background noise...I mean more noise, of course.

What's lacking here (maybe) would be some presence in the bass region and the clicking from the keys : probably RVG was not using some kind of direct injection gear..?

Regarding the music played here, it is probably one of the most daring and progressive album of Jimmy's.Listen to the intro and finale of Laura, or Slightly monkish.My Funny Valentine gets an extraordinary treatment here.Some premices of these sounds are to be found upon Blue Note 1556 'The Sounds of Jimmy Smith' track 'The Fight'.

Definitely buy this one... :wub::g

Edited by michel devos

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What do you guys consider the "standout" tracks?  I've listened to this maybe twice, and it hasn't grabbed me yet.  Think I'll go put 'er on, now. 

"My Funny Valentine" is not only my favorite track on this session, but it's my all-time favorite Jimmy Smith tune.

Whenever I play it, I bow my head in reverance. This is God's instrument being played; it's like hearing God speak. All other music seems to fade into irrelevance by comparison.

Edited by connoisseur series500

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I'm in deep with Jimmy at Small's this morning. I'm listening to Jimmy's version of 'My Funny Valentine' as I type these words. I wish I could go back in time and see him play it live at Small's.

I'm amazed at the quality of the sound in this 1957 live recording. I can hear every note from Smith's organ as well from Eddie McFadden's guitar. The notes are crisp, precise, and clear.

Some have written that the two disks worth of this material are too much. This morning, for me, the two disks are barely enough. I intend to listen to the entire set before I'm done. When Jimmy hits his groove I have no choice but to go with him.

Jimmy Smith and Eddie McFadden play off each other as if they've known each other forever. Jimmy doesn't seem as crazy and wild, to me, as has been written regarding the GROOVIN AT SMALLS session. This is bare bones Jimmy Smith. Right there in your face, yet visible at a safe distance if you prefer. Smith sounds funky, groovy, jazzy, very inspired, warm, and friendly.

Glad you got it, Wes. This is a great 2-cd set. I love it.

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"My Funny Valentine" is not only my favorite track on this session, but it's my all-time favorite Jimmy Smith tune. Whenever I play it, I bow my head in reverance.  This is God's instrument being played; it's like hearing God speak.  All other music seems to fade into irrelevance by comparison.

This is a breath-taking version of 'My Funny Valentine' to be sure. It's one of the best versions of 'My Funny Valentine' I've heard. The song is eleven minutes long. Yet, I can listen over and over. :tup

Edited by wesbed

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Agreed on that version of My Funny Valentine : this is definitely Jimmy at his best, including the beautiful sounds of Eddie McFadden.I can't imagine a better version, although that song went along with Jimmy for years :he played it again with Grady Tate on the date Fourmost and , sign from the Gods, the only time I had an opportunity to record him live, he played that tune as well.

There really MUST be something in that tune :rlol

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I have Vol. I on a Toshiba Japan LP pressing, and the sound is really very, very good. It must have been tough as hell for Rudy to get the organ sound right, as Smith goes from some little tremolos to oceanic waves of sound in a few beats. But I think he did capture the sound of the group very effectively. Your audio system needs to have some bass-handling capability to get the most out of this one.

There are points where everyone seems to be just noodling along, then Smith just decides to pull out all the stops (literally at times), he just gets all over that baby, and knocks you out. he has an incredible touch. McFadden is along for the ride mostly, but does a good job overall. The drummer (Donald Bailey), however....I don't get what he was doing. Maybe he didn't either. Anyone else have a problem with that?

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