Shrdlu

Jimmy Smith's finest performance?

15 posts in this topic

I first heard Jimmy on the album "Back At The Chicken Shack". I found a copy of the LP for $3.00 in a used record store. The cover looked like it had been dropped into a sink full of water, but the vinyl was pristine. I was knocked out. That B3 sound, with its own bassline, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Burrell and Donald Bailey. A perfect album. If you've never heard Jimmy Smith, this is an excellent starting point.

Later, I acquired more Smith. I have the early 57 three-day Blue Note material, but it doesn't do much for me. As a result, I avoided the 56-57 live dates. But recently, I decided to hear the live date at the Baby Grand Club in Wilmington, Delaware - two CDs' worth of material. It is just the trio -no guests.

This collection includes an amazing version of "The Preacher"! I have never heard anything by Jimmy to top that. It is very long, and he is the only soloist. It is an amazing, room-filling noise. Absolutely shattering. This is an example of what Alfred Lion and Frank Wolff heard when they first heard him. They were blown away.

The piece is in F. I love it when Jimmy holds down an F with his right thumb and solos with the other four fingers. The tension is terrific.

Jimmy's best-ever recorded performance? Suggestions to the contrary welcomed.

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J.O.S. for me.

 

 

Edited by felser

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I'm in the middle of a great book by Kenny Mathieson named "Cookin'- Hard Bob and Soul Jazz- 1954-1965", and he has a chapter on musicians of that period who have never had a full-length biography written about them, at the time of its writing, 2002. Since then, books have been written about many of these artists, but there's a chapter on Jimmy Smith, as well as:Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon/Wardell Gray, Horace Silver, The MJQ, Cannonball Adderly/Nat Adderly, Lee Morgan/Hank Mobley, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Dorham/Howard McGhee, Donald Byrd/Blue Mitchell/Booker Little, Sonny Stitt/Johnny Griiffin, James Moody/ Serge Chaloff/ Jimmy Heath, Lou donaldson/ Stanley Turrentine, Booker ErvinTina Brooks/ Gigi Gryce, Sonny Clark/Elmo Hope/ Wynton Kelly, Kenny Burrell/Grant Green, The Jazztet.

In the Jimmy Smith chapter, he tells the story (in Smith's words) about how Jimmy laid out Babs Gonzales in 1957, after Babs claimed to be JS' new manager, in the studio at 70 Broadway, with Alfred Lion and Frank Wolff looking on in horrified panic.

The author rates JS' records one by one, and raves most about "The Sermon', and "Back at the Chicken Shack", where he claims you can practically "feel the grease" on the title track. 

The author likes the Baby Grand live sessions, but claims that the subsequent two volume,"Groovin' at Small's Paradise" in 1957, is a more powerful date, and also raves about sessions on Feb.11-13, 1957, which produced five albums, "The Sounds of Jimmy Smith", and two more two volume issues, "A Date With Jimmy Smith, and "Jimmy Smith At the Organ.

Edited by sgcim

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On 11/1/2019 at 4:53 PM, felser said:

J.O.S. for me.

 

 

Hard to beat this although I think House Party and Open House are pretty darn good. 

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There's so much good J.O.S. on Blue Note.  I also really like Rockin' The Boat (talk about greasy!), Home Cookin', Cool Blues, and the Open House/Plain Talk date.

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Another vote for "J.O.S."  His comping and riffing are wonderful on it, plus the solo, quoting "My Babe" in the midst of that straight 8th soloing that Don Patterson, Johnny Hammond and Groove Holmes picked up on is so inventive.  I have to say the Baby Grand, February '57 and Groovin at Smalls are among some of the finest material because his creativity was at a peak, the ferocity matchless and the mastery over the entire organ is just (no pun intended) incredible.  Really, the first 15 albums show this off in abundance.

Edited by CJ Shearn

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No topping BACK AT THE CHICKEN SHACK and MIDNIGHT SPECIAL as far as I am concerned, but imho Stanley Turrentine and Kenny Burrell lift it over the top.

i find smith’s organ trio albums to be somewhat boring and monochromatic though that is clearly a personal blind spot 

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Hard to say, they all are great. 

But I have a Special love for "A Date with Jimmy Smith Vol. 1 and 2" for the great Encounter with some of the strongest horn Players of that time plus Art Blakey. 

"Baby Grand - Wilmington" for it´s powerful organ, "Small´s" of Course, 

The Sermon, if I really want to hear some very very Long track of Jimmy Smith´s groove...….

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17 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

Hard to say, they all are great. 

But I have a Special love for "A Date with Jimmy Smith Vol. 1 and 2" for the great Encounter with some of the strongest horn Players of that time plus Art Blakey. 

"Baby Grand - Wilmington" for it´s powerful organ, "Small´s" of Course, 

The Sermon, if I really want to hear some very very Long track of Jimmy Smith´s groove...….

Sit On It, Unfinished Business and The Cat Strikes Again aren't particularly great, but I see what you mean about the Blue Note material.

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52 minutes ago, Justin V said:

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That's not a bad call, not at all.

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I've always been a sucker for Smith's early stuff and At Club Baby Grand vol. 1&2 are tremendous to my ears.

51spu3ynH6L.jpg

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On 11/15/2019 at 7:58 AM, Matthew said:

I've always been a sucker for Smith's early stuff and At Club Baby Grand vol. 1&2 are tremendous to my ears.

51spu3ynH6L.jpg

Great choice!   What sucks is a ton of extra material was recorded on these dates but is lost apparently :(

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