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Jimmy Smith: Angel Eyes

The subtitle of this comfortable recording, ballads & slow jams, tells the essential story in a nutshell. The groove master is once again surrounded by youngsters from the Verve roster, including trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton, guitarist Mark Whitfield, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Captured during the same sessions as Jimmy’s recorded return to Verve, Damn, this outing concentrates on the intimacy of balladry. With the exception of Hutchinson, each takes a turn dueting with Smith, there are two trio tracks, two solos (including that now-tired melody “What a Wonderful World”), and a full blown opening take on “Stolen Moments.”

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