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Monday, February 22, 2021

Incredible! - Jimmy Smith


Night In Tunisia

Jimmy Smith
Produced by Creed Taylor
Director of Engineering: Val Valentine
Cover Design: David Krieger
Recorded Live in Hamburg, Germany
Metro Records MS-607

From the back cover: Jimmy Smith made a jazz lady of the electric organ

Until he arrived on the scene the Hammond Organ had been confined to use by cocktail music units, rock-n-roll bands, the driving Wild Bill Davis, and sporadically by Count Basie. (Fats Waller played the pipe organ.) But Jimmy, instead of approaching the electric organ as a gimmick, used it as a highly flexible, wide-ranged, electronic extension of himself. The results wowed the fans and indicated new directions for a goodly number of other jazzmen both here and abroad.

A restless probing musician, Smith has developed a flawless technique. As he builds his improvisations on a rock-hard bass line, Jimmy has something else: call it jazz sense or soul if you want, but it's there. His music seems to flow out of someplace way down deep inside him.

Jimmy was born in 1925 in Norristown, Pa., to parents who were both pianists. By the time he was nine, he had won a Major Bowes Amateur Hour Contest, and was appearing regularly as a pianist on radio in Philadelphia.

In 1942 he and his father teamed up as a song-and-dance act. They performed, intermittently, until the outbreak of World War II.

During the war, Jimmy did a hitch in the U.S. Navy. After being discharged, he returned home and played with rhythm and blues outfits in the Philadelphia area until 1953. And then one day ...he heard Will Bill Davis play the organ.

From that day forward it was so long Steinway, hello Hammond! Two years later Jimmy emerged as a jazz organist and tore up the club in Atlantic City, NJ where he made his debut. Next stop, Cafe Bohemia, New York. It didn't take long for Jimmy to build a following; within a matter of weeks the word had spread among musicians that something new was happening with Jimmy Smith on organ.

By 1963 he had set the style for organ groups (usually featuring guitar, saxophone and drums) that was to become widely influential throughout the U.S. and overseas.

Jimmy has made dozens of concert tours of the United States and Europe as well as appearances at every major jazz festival from Newport to Antibes. He has recorded more than twenty albums, many of them with some of the top names in jazz: Stanley Turrentine, Art Blakey, Jimmy Cleveland and Kenny Burrel, to name a few.

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