Jump to content

Saw Jimmy Smith...


Recommended Posts

Jimmy seems to interact differently with the audience then other artists.

Saw Jimmy Smith and he even yelled at me. I was sitting right up front by the stage. I was looking directly at him and after the tune was done he yelled to me, "What the hell you looking at?" He did have a drink on stage. I guess old habits are hard to stop. But he did put on a great show. Still worth seeing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never seen the man in person, myself. But I do seem to remember seeing a few stories on the old BNBB, a couple of which described some pretty off-the-wall behavior and/or comments he had made, from the bandstand. (I even remember that some of the comments were maybe insulting?) I wish I could remember the details, but I do remember that a couple of the stories made me question what I thought about the guy (separate from his music, of course). I don't mean to sully the guy's name without specifics -- perhaps someone else here remembers the thread??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The message I've gotten from the stories is that he's a drunken lout, given to berating his audience, sometimes not exactly putting out maximum effort (letting his sidemen play much more than he does) but, bottom line, he's still Jimmy Smith and you should go see him if you have the opportunity.

Frankly, I'd rather listen to Back at the Chicken Shack.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's beautiful! Glad to hear he hasn't lost his edge.;)

I remember that thread going about Jimmy's interpersonal relationship skills on the old BNBB, too. I had seen him a few years ago at the old House of Blues in Cambridge. Some young girl yells-"we love you Jimmy" in the middle of one of his solos (sic) and he yells back without a blink "fuck you!!". No doubt made her night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen Jimmy a few times. At one show he did with Jimmy McGriff and Melvin Rhyne, he was actually pretty well behaved, but at another in St. Louis he was pretty pissed off all night. There were a small group of college aged kids sitting close to the stage in a pretty small club, he was on them much of the night; just being a smart ass. He asked if any of them played music and one replied that he played guitar, he then walked off the stage and said "listen to this guy, he'll teach you how to play" referring to his guitarist at the time. He left a stage a couple of times and let the band play for 15 minutes at time. When the show is only 60-90 minutes total, this is a long time. I tried to strike up a conversation after the show and while he did sign an original Francis Wolff photograph for me, he was in no mood to chat! ......and that growling he does throughout his tunes are annoying!!! That said, I would probably still go to see him as he is a living legend; but than again he didn't really tear into me! I think I remember someone on the BNBB said that Jimmy walked out of the club after a song or two because he thought the rent-an-organ sounded like shit.

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember reading once Alfred Lion wanted to sell Blue Note and go out on the road as Jimmy Smith road Manager. I wonder if Jimmy was the same way 40 years ago, or has hitting the bottle made him what he is today? I can’t see Alfred and him working out. Both are so opposite of each other.

Edited by Hardbopjazz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i saw jimmy smith a couple of years ago,at the iron horse,in northampton,mass. the show was great when the group was playing, but in between numbers jimmy was insulting anything & everything. i remember at one point i yelled out, "why don't you shut the f... up", but there was alot of noise, and my suggestion went unheard. as i said, i thought the show itself was great, if he could just chill out when he's not playing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw Jimmy in January '98 at theBlue Note in NY with Jack McDuff as a co bill, I was 17 at the time and incredibly excited to see Smith, someone I always admired greatly, he started with "Off the Top", then "Midnight Special", after that, everyone left the stage and Phil Upchurch played a medley alone. Jimmy came back on, played "Baby it's Cold Outside", and then a 2 minute version of "Got my Mojo Workin", before McDuff came on and blew the roof off the place. At that time I wasn't into many other organists besides Jimmy so it changed my view some. Also within the last few years, Jimmy's recorded output has been spotty, the record with Joey D. I think showcased some of Smith's best playing in recent memory, partially I think b/c he felt he needed to show something to Joey, since we all know he's considered the heir to Jimmy's throne. Anyway, about the alcohol issue, does anyone know when it started? b/c it seems to me that Jimmy had his head on right in the BN since those early albums featured such incredible invention, did the fame from the Verve years go to his head?

Edited by CJ Shearn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Food for thought: The man is almost 80 years old. Do you think he wants to be on the road?

Think about that before you pass judgement on him.

I disagree with this. Whether he wants to be on the road or doesn't, he's a professional musician playing for paying customers. Its not exactly professional to berate your audience, unless, that is, you are Don Rickles. Knowing what I have heard about Jimmy, I would not go see him if he came to south Florida, because I don't need to pay good money to watch someone abuse his audience and possibly walk off for 1/4 or more of the set.

Being an 80 year old legend who may not want to perform anymore doesn't give you carte blanche to yell "Fuck you!" to a teenage girl who yells out "we love you."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Food for thought:  The man is almost 80 years old.  Do you think he wants to be on the road? 

Think about that before you pass judgement on him.

I disagree with this. Whether he wants to be on the road or doesn't, he's a professional musician playing for paying customers. Its not exactly professional to berate your audience, unless, that is, you are Don Rickles. Knowing what I have heard about Jimmy, I would not go see him if he came to south Florida, because I don't need to pay good money to watch someone abuse his audience and possibly walk off for 1/4 or more of the set.

Being an 80 year old legend who may not want to perform anymore doesn't give you carte blanche to yell "Fuck you!" to a teenage girl who yells out "we love you."

good points dan, but if he comes to south florida, i'll be there. the man can PLAY!!!! ;)

Edited by Evan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I forgot this one from the show, about 3/4 of the way through he turned to Melvin Sparks and told him to play something, solo guitar number. Jimmy wanted to lay out. Melvin said, "what do you want me to play?" Jimmy said, "play anything, why the F%$# an I paying you." Got a laugh out of Melvin, more of a laugh of embarrassment that is. I could see he didn't like being yelled at on stage. Anyway Melvin went on and played "I can't get started" for about 7 to 10 minutes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in total agreement with Dan Gould and b3-er.

:g

I saw him a few years ago at the Detroit Jazz fest and had a blast. The only time he came close to berating the audience was when he answered them with, "I know, I know, Walk on the goddam Wild Side!" I have to say that his most intriguing playing came during the soundcheck. It was out!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My point, Dan, is that the man is a fuckin' living legend but still has to be on the road to make a living. That's a very shitty statement about how Americans treat their geniuses. Jimmy is a musical genius and he should be living large in some tropical retreat somewhere, enjoying his legacy instead of having to play in smoky clubs to make ends meet.

If I'm 80 and I still have to play in smoky bars to make a living, I'll shoot myself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

B3-er has it right. Jimmy is gigging 'cause he has to. The percentage of musicians that wind up with a comfortable retirement is so small that it is frightening....and then you find out that some of the guys you thought had bread have nothing! AND there's less and less gigs and venues each year. THE MUSIC BUSINESS SUCKS !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...