Jimmy Smith recorded for Blue Note so frequently during the late '50s that many of his sessions remained unreleased for years. The music that comprises Lonesome Road sat in the vaults for years, until the Japanese division of Blue Note released the album in the '80s. Since Smith had so many albums on the market, it's understandable that Blue Note wanted to limit the number of records they released from him, but the music on Lonesome Road is almost as fine as that on The Sermon or Groovin' at Small's Paradise.
Verve's Great Songs/Great Performances series is yet another attempt in a seemingly never-ending stream of them to repackage – and hopefully resell – their vast catalog of jazz and blues. They're super cheap in both cost and presentation, but the music is almost always stellar. Jimmy Smith's Plays the Hits volume is no exception. These eight selection are covers of tunes by the Rolling Stones (" Satisfaction"), Fats Domino ("Blueberry Hill"), Don Covay ("Chain of Fools") James Brown ("Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"), Otis Redding ("Respect"), Al Green ("Let's Stay Together"), and others. It's a groove lover's cheap dream.
Great late 70s work from Jimmy Smith – two albums back to back on a single CD! One of our favorite later albums from organist Jimmy Smith – and a set that cooks heavily in a wicked blend of jazz, funk, and soul! The style's a bit like the groove that Johnny Hammond hit during his Gears period – arranged by Eugene McDaniels and Alan Silvestri, with an approach that's somewhere between Larry Mizell and Skip Scarborough – tight grooves, bits of vocals, yet plenty of room for Smith's keyboard solos to take off over the top! Players include Herbie Hancock on piano, Alan Silvestri on guitar, and Lenny White on drums – but the main star is Jimmy – who's grooving massively over the top of the album, with soaring solos that are some of his best work from the late 70s.
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 entertainer, and young Jimmy joined his song-and-dance act when he was six years old.