Reissue features the latest DSD remastering and HR cutting. Also features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD players). On Johnny "Hammond" Smith's first album as a leader, the organist simply sits himself down in front of a standard guitar-bass-drums trio (featuring guitarist Thornel Schwartz, who had previously worked with Jimmy Smith) and lets rip. The songs are a nice combination of standards, like "Secret Love," "The Masquerade Is Over" and "Pennies From Heaven," along with Smith originals that have a more blues-based, gospel-like air.
While organist Johnny "Hammond" Smith never attained the status of Jimmy Smith, he nonetheless fronted first-rate bands and accumulated a fine discography. Recorded in 1961, Opus de Funk brings together two Smith albums in one package, Stimulation and Opus de Funk. Since the same band – vibraphonist Freddie McCoy, guitarist Eddie McFadden, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Leo Stevens – played on both sets, and since both albums aren't very long by contemporary standards, the pair fit snuggly on the same CD. The really unusual element here is the presence of McCoy, because one doesn't usually associate vibes with jazz organ combos.
Reissue features the latest DSD remastering and HR cutting. Also features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD players). An excellent piece of early soul-jazz, 1960's Talk That Talk isn't as bop-oriented as Shirley Scott's albums with Stanley Turrentine from the same period, as flashy and ornate as the albums Jimmy Smith was starting to make with Creed Taylor and Lalo Schifrin, or as funky and blues-based as the best of Jimmy McGriff or "Brother" Jack McDuff. Smith's playing on this album is low-key almost to the point of being conservative, deeply soulful without resorting to what would soon become tired funk clichés.
Reissue features the latest DSD remastering and HR cutting. Also features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD players). Good feelings and plenty of soul – some very early work as a leader from Hammond hero Johnny Smith! The set's got Johnny using the organ with lots of stops out – that full, wide range of the instrument that initially knocked so many folks for a loop when it first came into jazz – then really took strong formation in the hands of a player like this! The groove's a bit like a Jimmy Smith record for Blue Note, but a lot grittier too – with some occasional elements of R&B mixed in with the more far-reaching jazz sensibilities. The group features Thornel Schwartz on guitar, who'd played famously with Jimmy Smith – plus George Tucker on bass and Leo Stevens on drums.
This two-fer combines two early-'60s dates for Johnny "Hammond" Smith, a gifted organist who had the chops to play more complex jazz changes while keeping the groove deep. Both of these dates were originally released on Riverside. Black Coffee, a club gig, was issued in 1962 with a lineup of saxophonist Seldon Powell, guitarist Eddie McFadden, and drummer Leo Stevens. Smith walks the line between beautifully rendered standards such as "Body and Soul" and "I Remember Clifford," as well as some hard-edged soul-jazz stompers including the title track and his own "Rufus Toofus."
Reissue features the high-fidelity Blu-spec CD format (compatible with standard CD players) and the latest remastering. Exposing a jazz purist to most recordings involving Fonce and Larry Mizell is much like shoving a vampire into daylight. Gambler's Life, the first of two Johnny "Hammond" Smith albums featuring the brothers' ambitious handiwork, isn't an exception. Watch a purist seek shelter in his dank cave whenever this album is within earshot. Smith switches to Fender Rhodes for most of the material, and the Mizells bring their ARPs, spirited if unpolished group vocal arrangements, wah-wah guitars, and soaring instrumental arrangements made to shine on the dancefloor. Strong throughout, the album runs as efficiently and as sweetly as any other groove-heavy album of its time.
Amazing stuff! Johnny "Hammond" Smith began his career as a simple soul jazz organist – but by the time of this album, he'd teamed up with the mighty Larry Mizell, the genius arranger/producer who'd breathed new life into the careers of Donald Byrd and Bobbi Humphrey. Mizell works with Hammond in the same way he does with other jazz artists – by taking a groove that works best with their solo style, and slowly layering other instrumentation and effects on top of it, so that when the solo kicks in, it's supported on waves and waves of funky sounds and soulful grooves.