Jimmy Smith: Root Down


Root Down


Jimmy Smith (organ)


Jimmy Smith Live! Root Down (Verve 314 559 805-2)

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Jimmy Smith (organ), Arthur Adams (guitar), Wilton Felder (bass), Buck Clarke (congas, percussion), Paul Humphrey (drums).

Recorded: Los Angeles, February 1972


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Once he had his fill of hard bop and soul jazz, Jimmy Smith turned his organ toward funk jazz for a while. “Root Down” and the rest of this album, taken from a 1972 concert at the Bombay Bicycle Club in Los Angeles, are the epitome of that effort. Arthur Adams’ funk licks and wah-wah pedal give the sound the extra kick it needs to grab the kids’ attention, and Wilton Felder’s electric bass – an instrument one might consider gratuitous given the Hammond B-3’s pedals – helps sustain the soul groove so Smith can focus on his keyboard laboratory, and indeed he solos through virtually the entire 12 minutes here. “Root Down” gained new currency in 1994 when the Beastie Boys used the recording as the basis for a rap song of the same title. More proof that Smith’s sound never gets old.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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