Jimmy_smith-at_the_organ_span3
December 1997

Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith at the Organ Volumes 1 & 3
Blue Note Records

Jimmy Smith has been on the scene for so long it may be difficult to imagine now what the Hammond B-3 sounded like before he got his hands (and feet) on it. This two-CD set marks his 1956 debut on disc in company with guitarist Thornel Schwartz (misspelled as "Scwartz") and drummers Bay Perry (Disc one #1-9) and Donald Bailey in a program of tunes that features him going all out on such wailers as Dizzy Gillespie's "The Champ," at half-throttle on items like "I Cover the Waterfront" (done a la Erroll Garner) and totally relaxed on-among others-"Deep Purple."

While Smith takes the lion's share of the solos, Schwartz gets in a lot of good licks, too; his smooth playing contrasts nicely with Smith's spikier approach. The tunes are routined well, also, with Schwartz occasionally stating the theme alone or in unison. Learning had only switched from the piano three years earlier makes his playing all the more remarkable. Modern organ definitely starts here!

Originally published in December 1997
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