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The Definitive Collection

Jimmy Smith

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Album Review

Jimmy Smith's recordings for Verve Records have a certain appeal in commercial circles, among movie buffs, big-band fans, groove merchants, and those who simply enjoy a good soul-jazz organ combo. This collection of 12 tracks is programmed in chronological order on dates from 1962 to 1969. While not wholly definitive as the title suggests, there are many familiar themes here that Smith's devotees will find appealing unless you already own them. Most of the material is Oliver Nelson arranged rock 'em sock 'em orchestrated music. You get the familiar, without a doubt definitive big-band soul-jazz hit "Walk on the Wild Side," the less requisite show-off and campy "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" and the dramatic, Austin Powers style groovy baby soul-jazz tune "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The other tunes from Smith and Nelson are much more vital, including the truly essential blues groover "Hobo Flats," and the wonderful remake of "Night Train" with Wes Montgomery. Lalo Schifrin is the arranger for the boogaloo standard bearer "The Cat," and the lugubrious but ultimate "Blues in the Night." Some might wish this was an all-trio collection, as the add-ons, not centerpieces, are the club date takes of the hard bopper "The Champ," the immortal "Blues Bash," and as an afterthought "The Boss," unfortunately marred by crowd noise way up in the mix. They showcase Smith himself upfront and at his best. The clunker "I've Got My Mojo Working" has Smith attempting to sing — not his strongest suit. Fans who have Smith's "Blue Note" recordings have options for a better mix. This collection scratches the surface, and is no more than simply OK. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

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...
Full Bio