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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


Jim Alfredson
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It was on CD ages ago (in the long gone 80's) and never ever reissued after that (indeed not even by the Japanese). I'm looking for a copy myself for a long time now (Ebay, etc..) but no luck either.

I have the LP (twice) so if you pay for the postage (from the Netherlands) I could send you one copy.

Cheers,

Reinier

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So what is the '...Virgina Woolf' album like, anyway?

This week I've been listening to my auto comp of the Verve sides that I put together a while back. Great goods IMO.

I sampled a bit of 'The Boss' recently and am surprised they have not given difinitive props to his career rather than put out inferior sounding gigs such as that. Verve seems to think it best to put out poorly sequenced compilation after compilation instead of focusing on, say, a complete or well done large band retrospective. Those 60's Nelson and Schifrin sides are, in their own way, as important as the Blue Notes.

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Clem,

from all I've "read recently" ;) you NEED to put on "St. James Infirmary" from this album!!!

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(why Verve does not put this out every Halloween yet endcap "Christmas Cookin" is beyond me?)

pretty much a nasty solo outing with the comping coming from oliver's usual pals. gotta make sure it's dark and cold. by the time the winds take flight out of that morgue you'll be asking why you short shrifted those verve big band sides like all the critics. then chase that one down with the theme from "Joy House" from 'The Cat'. Oooohhh baby!!! :tup

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I have most of the Verve stuff above on vinyl and I like them. They swing like mad - the charts are good, the rhythm section always has the goods, etc etc. The only problem with them is that by this time in Jimmy's career, there is a certain sameness to his solo's, i.e. his blowing on Mojo is not that different from High Heel Sneakers, from Walk On The Wild Side, from Hobo Flats. Those are all 12 bar blues and the groove is similar from tune to tune...It could be due to production values superimposed by Verve, or it could be Jimmy in a rut with this material.

That being said, they are very good records, and the obvious solution is to listen to them in small doses.

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I have a copy of Virginia Woolf on vinyl (no more record player tho. honestly I prefer CD) and from what I remember it was pretty good. I certainly prefer the Nelson arrangements over Schifrin or Ogerman stuff. Harold Z, I know what you mean about Jimmy's playing on some of thealbums. On the Verve stuff I think he sounds most inspired on the albums with Wes, "Blue Bash", "The Boss" and "Angel Eyes".

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Yo B- or anyone else who has an answer: which of the Verve sides do you find hottest and/or the most interesting? In this wide world of music, I've always heard the Verves as superfluous (after so so many Jimmy Smith Blue Notes, it was time to dig Freddie Roach, Charles Earland, etc.) but every once in while I wonder what I've been missing...

Note: I am not generally just a "groover"... I can dig it but a little goes further w/me than it does w/some others.

Gracias,

Verveless Clem

I like Jimmy Smith's Verve stuff.

Good are:

BLUE BASH

ORGAN GRINDER'S SWING

MASTER

MASTER II

THE CAT

GOT MY MOJO WORKING/HOOCHIE KOOCHIE MAN

THE BOSS

ANGEL EYES

I did not like BASHIN. Hated the orchestra. I believe the Verve stuff is important because they are different than the Blue Note recordings.

Best of all might be the two sessions with Wes Montgomery.

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Don't forget Root Down--it's a steaming, heaping plate of greeeaaazzzzeeeee!!!

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With studio folks from L.A. ca. 1972--Arthur Adams on guitar, Buck Clarke on percussion, Wilton Felder on bass & guitar, and Paul Humphrey on drums--it's really different from Jimmy's other sessions, and it totally cooks.

Yes, forgot to mention this one. Thumbs up also... :tup

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Probably sacrilege around here, but honestly the more I have listened the more I believe Smith's quality level at Verve was equal to his run at Blue Note - just different in style. When he really hit it on Blue Note, he was at his best for me - COOL BLUES, THE SERMON, and HOUSEPARTY are personal favorites. But overall I think the Blue Notes also suffer from a kind of sameness and tedium for some reason, and there may be nothing as cool on this planet as listening to Jimmy Smith wailing in front of a hip large ensemble arrangement by Oliver Nelson!

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Dont forget "Bluesmith" on Verve. With Teddy Edwards on tenor and Jimmy playing with a bassist (Leroy Vinnegar). Not out on CD but the vinyl isn't too hard to find. Good record. Swingin' like crazy.

I really dig the Verve big band stuff. Bashin' has some great trio tracks if the big band ain't your thing, Conn500.

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Probably sacrilege around here, but honestly the more I have listened the more I believe Smith's quality level at Verve was equal to his run at Blue Note - just different in style. When he really hit it on Blue Note, he was at his best for me - COOL BLUES, THE SERMON, and HOUSEPARTY are personal favorites. But overall I think the Blue Notes also suffer from a kind of sameness and tedium for some reason, and there may be nothing as cool on this planet as listening to Jimmy Smith wailing in front of a hip large ensemble arrangement by Oliver Nelson!

An excellent assessment, in my view. I think Jimmy's Verve stuff is important.

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This hasn't been re-issued yet!? WTF? I could've sworn this came out a few years ago but I must be thinking of "Peter and the Wolf". Why hasn't this been re-issued?!?

I can't even find a Japanese CD copy. They haven't re-issued it either!?

Maybe you were thinking of Peter Wolf ;) .

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"Virginia Woolf" was an early CD release, when the Verve catalog was part of Polygram. (#823 309-2) In its initial LP release, and after the success of "Bashin'" (which had one side of big band material and a second side with trio) it was probably the first full-blown Smith + big band album - all organ, the band was strictly a back-up - and set the formula for much of Smith's subsequent Verve recording. At the time it came out, and as someone who grew up with the Smith Blue Note albums, it was a little off-putting - semi-classical touches, organ solos that didn't always seem to have much to do with what was going on, twangy guitars, no spots for anyone but Smith, and a sound level that ranged from loud to very loud. (Not to mention the goofy division of the title song into 2 arbitrary sections.) However, having said that, it's always been one of my favorites. "Organ Ginder" is (for me) the best of his Verve output - I might put it on my 10 best list - and many of the others mentioned (particularly "Bluesmith") are very good. "Respect" is also excellent, and I don't know how it's slipped through the reissue cracks.

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  • 2 months later...

Yes Virginia Woolf, There is a Santa Claus! It's Christmas for Jim!!!

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Jimmy Smith -- Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (Japanese paper sleeve edition) . . . CD . . . $22.99  (Item: 366708)

Verve/55 Records (Japan), 1964 (Gatefold) Condition: New Copy     View Cart   

A real treasure, and a record that may well be our favorite Jimmy Smith album for Verve -- a masterful meeting of his smoking Hammond work with some swingingly sophisticated arrangements by Oliver Nelson and Claus Ogerman! Both Nelson and Ogerman bring a fuller spectrum of horn work to the album than heard on other Smith sides of the time -- using an almost orchestral approach to the backings, one that pushes Jimmy even further into the stratosphere as he solos madly on the organ! But don't think that the larger backings are clunky at all -- because they're not -- and there's a surprisingly deep soul to all the proceedings on the album, making it one of the tightest, grooviest, and deeply soulful records that Jimmy cut after leaving Blue Note! The LP includes two very long cuts -- killer versions of "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Wolf" and "Slaughter On 10th Avenue" -- plus shorter takes on "Bluesette", "Women Of The World", and "Wives & Lovers" that are all plenty amazing too!

Bastards! :tup

Edited by Man with the Golden Arm
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