Jimmy Smith: The Sermon
Jimmy Smith (organ)
The Sermon (Blue Note 7243 5 24541 2 9)
Recorded: New York, February 25, 1958
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
“The Sermon” is a straight-ahead, 12-bar blues in which everyone solos. It also was the tune that proved, once and for all, that the organ is not a gimmick as a jazz instrument. If it were, it would be hard to sustain the listener’s interest for 20 minutes, which is precisely what the title track of The Sermon did, taking up all of side one of the original LP. Regardless of whether he’s soloing or comping behind his sidemen, Smith puts a lot of thought into his work. He begins right off with a playful solo that resorts to no cheap tricks – yes, he uses finger and thumb to fire away at a single F-sharp in rapid succession, but it makes sense and he doesn’t overdo it. Done with his own solo, he gets out of the way and lets everyone else at it. Twenty minutes later, the sermon is over and our spirit is fulfilled.
Reviewer: Steve Greenlee