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Jimmy Smith - Retrospective

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Album Review

For those who have found B3 sensation Jimmy Smith's voluminous Blue Note catalog daunting and can't find a place to start, this handsome four-CD Retrospective, covering 30 years, may be the way in. Thirty-seven of the set's thirty-eight tracks are culled from Smith's albums recorded between 1956 and 1963 — the last, recorded in 1986, is taken from his return to the Blue Note fold. While there is no unreleased stuff here — no alternate takes, no odd sessions, nothing, strictly catalog tracks — what is included is a stellar look at Smith's progression as an artist in a relatively short period. Most of the big numbers are here, especially form the early years, like "The Champ," and "The Preacher," as well as his jam tune "Fiddlin the Minors" and "Yarbird Suite." His beautiful "I Can't Get Started" is present, as is "Body and Soul" and "Slightly Monkish." Of the four R&B and soul burners, "I Got a Woman," "See See Rider," "Prayer Meetin," "Midnight Special," and "Pork Chop," are included as well. Full release and personnel documentation are in the notes and Bob Blumenthal's liner essay is informative and authoritative, particularly in his description of Smith's playing. Retrospective's price tag may be a hindrance for the curious, and old-school fans will no doubt have many if not all of these cuts. But for anyone wishing to have a solid history of one of the true innovators in the music, this is a very fine collection


Born: December 8, 1928 in Norristown, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Jimmy Smith wasn't the first organ player in jazz, but no one had a greater influence with the instrument than he did; Smith coaxed a rich, grooving tone from the Hammond B-3, and his sound and style made him a top instrumentalist in the 1950s and '60s, while a number of rock and R&B keyboardists would learn valuable lessons from Smith's example. James Oscar Smith was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania on December 8, 1928 (some sources cite his birth year as 1925). Smith's father was a musician and...
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Jimmy Smith - Retrospective, Jimmy Smith
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  • $18.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: Oct 19, 2004

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