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Album Review

Incredible! documents a unique musical encounter, the first time that Jimmy Smith has recorded with another organist, the equally great Joey DeFrancesco. First DeFrancesco is heard with his usual trio (with guitarist Paul Bollenbeck and drummer Byron Landham), racing through heated versions of "The Champ," "When You're Smiling," and "Indiana" in addition to an emotional rendition of "The Good Life." The music is as exciting as one would expect from DeFrancesco. For the second half of the CD, Smith and his trio join the younger organist on a pair of medleys. The first one starts out with the blues "The Reverend" but then, after three-and-a-half minutes, it segues into an odd wandering version of "Yesterdays" before closing with "My Romance." The second medley — six-and-a-half minutes of Smith's blues "The Skeezer" that becomes a heated "St. Thomas" — is more like it. The two organists are quite compatible (DeFrancesco has long had Smith's style down pat) and, although the results are not quite Incredible! (it is far from shocking that these two organ masters can jam a blues together!), this CD should greatly interest both organ fans and jazz historians.


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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