Jimmy Smith

Regarded by his peers and critics alike as the king of the Hammond organ. His recordings are extensive, with over 30 albums for Blue Note and 20 for Verve, and some recent Milestone recordings. The Sermon, Back At The Chicken Shack and his collaborations with Wes Montgomery are often considered his best albums. He recorded in trios/quartets/quintets, sometimes sharing the billing with guitarists and saxophonists (Stanley Turrentine). He also recorded with big bands (most Verve releases), unfortunately.

After his first four albums, A New Sound-A New Star & The Champ and two live, he recorded five (count 'em: 5) albums in three days in five different ensembles including Donald Byrd, Lou Donaldson, Art Blakey and Kenny Burrell. The albums A Date with Jimmy Smith Vols. 1 & 2, Jimmy Smith At The Organ Vols. 1 & 2, and The Sounds of Jimmy Smith are collected on a 3-disc chronological compilation from Mosaic The Complete February 1957 Jimmy Smith Blue Note Sessions. Home Cookin', recently available from Japan, is more late 50's recordings with his faithful and esteemed guitar partner Burrell, who's own Midnight Blue with Stanley Turrentine is a Blues-drenched Jazz guitar classic.

Smith made his share of funky grooves. Suggestions are "Can't Get Enough" (from his Paid In Full album on his Mojo label, NA on CD) which can be found on the compilation of the same name from the Luv N' Haight label ("The Finest In Funk Since 1990", a tongue-in-cheek take-off of Blue Note's "The Finest In Jazz Since 1939", both of which are two of my favorite labels). Another classic is "Pipeline" (album?) which is on the Best Of compilation from Curb (not the best!).

"Smith revolutionized jazz organ, turning what was, for the most part, a roller-rink instrument into one of the most incisive, dynamic jazz instruments of its time. His work in the late 50s defined what today remains the standard approach to the instrument. In essence, he made the Hammond organ perform the work of an entire Jazz trio: using the left hand for chordal accompaniment, right hand for lead, and both feet to produce a walking bass line." (Bob Porter AMG)

He was awarded Downbeat's Top Jazz Organist for the first of many times in 1964, the same year he won a Grammy for his album The Cat. This album, from his Verve years, is characterized by orchestral accompaniments which are some of the unfunkiest things I have ever heard. The amazing thing is that if you just listen to the organ and shut out the big band, it's still funky.

He's still touring regularly, and one of his recent concerts in Tokyo was released by Blue Note, The Master, with Kenny Burrell on guitar and Jimmie Smith on drums. January '94's Downbeat magazine has a feature article "B-3 Jammin' with Jimmy Smith" with some interesting insights: Groove and McGriff used to be pupils of Smith's and would hide secrets from each other... According to Smith, they would wake him up in the morning. Smith himself would get to Bud Powell's home before he got up so he could watch him practice. Powell welcomed him until Jimmy played him "Un Poco Loco"! Smith even played a Charlie Parker gig one night (of many it seems) Powell was late.

Jimmy Smith's newest recordings on Verve, Damn! and Angel Eyes, matched him with today's "hot" young Jazz players: Roy Hargrove, tp; Nicholas Payton, tp; Mark Whitfield, g; Christian McBride, b.


Another discography (zipped, 9KB) by Marco Montaruli in Excel spreadsheet format.

  (Thornel Schwatrz/D.Bailey)   A New Sound-A New Star Vol.1    1956
  (Thornel Schwatrz/D.Bailey)   A New Sound-A New Star Vol.2    1956 (Champ)
  (T.Schwatrz/D.Bailey)         At Club Baby Grand Vol.1        1956
  (T.Schwatrz/D.Bailey)         At Club Baby Grand Vol.2        1956
  (D.Byrd/L.Donaldson/H.Mobley) A Date w/ J.S. Vol. 1           1957
  (D.Byrd/L.Donaldson/A.Blakey) A Date w/ J.S. Vol. 2           1957
  (L.Donaldson/E.McFadden)      Jimmy Smith At The Organ Vol. 1 1957
  (K.Burrell/A.Blakey)          Jimmy Smith At The Organ Vol. 2 1957
  (E.McFadden/D.Bailey)         The Sounds of Jimmy Smith       1957
                                Confirmation                    1957
                                Groovin' at Small's Vol. 1      1957
                                Groovin' at Small's Vol. 2      1957
                                Special Guests                  1957
  (K.Burrell/Philly Joe Jones)  Softly As A Summer Breeze       1957
  (E.McFadden/D.Bailey)         Plays Pretty Just for You       1957
  (L.Morgan/G.Coleman/A.Blakey) House Party                     1957-8
  (L.Donaldson/K.Burrell)       The Sermon                      1957-8
                                Cool Blues                      1958
                                On the Sunny Side               1958
  (K.Burrell/D.Bailey/P.France) Home Cookin'                    1958-9
  (I.Quebec/J.McLean/Q.Warren)  Open House                      1960
  (I.Quebec/J.McLean/Q.Warren)  Plain Talk                      1960
  (S.Turrentine/K.Burrell)      Back At The Chicken Shack       1960
  (S.Turrentine/K.Burrell)      Midnight Special                1960
  (Quentin Warren/D.Bailey)     Crazy! Baby                     1960
  (Quentin Warren/D.Bailey)     Plays Fats Waller               1962
  (L.Donaldson/Q.Warren)        Rockin' the Boat                1963
  (S.Turrentine/Q.Warren)       Prayer Meetin'                  1963
                                Bucket!                         1963
  (Grant Green)                 I'm Movin On                    1963
  (Q.Warren/D. Bailey/Orch.)    Bashin'                 1962    Verve
                                Any Number Can Win      1963    Verve
                                Blue Bash               1963    Verve
                                Hobo Flats              1963    Verve
                           Live at the Village Gate     1963    Metro
                                Plays the Blues         1963    PolyGram
  (Orchestra)                   Christmas Cookin'       1964    Verve
  (K.Burrell/G.Tate/Orch.)      The Cat                 1964    Verve
                   Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?      1964    Verve
  (Q.Warren/B.Hart)             Salle Pleyel (Live)     1965    Trema/RTE
                                In Hamburg Live         1965    Metro
                                Live in Concert / Paris 1965    Metro
  (K.Burrell/Grady Tate)        Organ Grinder's Swing   1965    Verve
                                Got My Mojo Workin'     1965    Verve
                                Monster                 1965    Verve
                                Hootchie Coochie Man    1966    Verve
                                Peter and the Wolf      1966    Verve
  (Wes Montgomery/Orch.)        The Dynamic Duo         1966    Verve
  (W.Montgomery/Orch.)  Further Adventures of J. & Wes  1966    Verve
                                Respect                 1967    Verve
                                The Boss                1968    Verve
                                Livin' It Up            1968    Verve
                                Stay Loose              1968    Verve
                                Groove Drops            1969    Verve
                             In A Plain Brown Wrapper   1971    Verve
                                Bluesmith               1972    Verve
                                Root Down - Live        1972    Verve
                      I'm Gonna Git Myself Together     1973    Verve
                                Portuguese Soul         1973    Verve
                                At the Lowry Organ      1973    Decca
                          Other Side of Jimmy Smith     1973    MGM
                                Blacksmith              1974    Pride
                                Paid in Full            1974    Mojo
  (Herbie Hancock/Lenny White)  Sit on It!              1976    Mercury
  (Orchestra)                   The Cat Strikes Again   1980    Laserlight
                                Mr. Jim                 1980    Manhattan
  (S.Turrentine/G.Benson)       Off the Top             1982    Elektra
                                Keep on Comin'          1983    Elektra
  (S.Turrentine/K.Burrell)      Go For Watcha Know      1986    Blue Note
                                Prime Time              1989    Milestone
  (S.Turrentine/K.Burrell)      Fourmost (Live)         1990    Milestone
  (Kenny Burrell/Jimmie Smith)  The Master (Live)       1993    Blue Note
  (Kenny Burrell/Jimmie Smith)  The Master II (Live)    1993    Somethin' Else
                                Sum Serious Blues       1993    Milestone
  (R.Hargrove/M.Whitfield)      Damn!                   1995    Verve
  (R.Hargrove/M.Whitfield)      Angel Eyes              1996    Verve

Turrentine, Stanley
  J.Smith(G.Benson/L.McCann) Straight Ahead             1984    Blue Note

White, Lenny
  Larry Young/Jimmy Smith (L.Coryell/Al DiMeola/Weldon Irvine/Hubert Laws)
                        Venusian Summer                 1975    Emperor

Ingram, James
  Jimmy Smith           It's Your Night                 1983    QWest

Jackson, Michael
  Jimmy Smith           Bad                             1987    Epic/Sony

Hammond Grounds ^Groove^

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