Jimmy Smith: Walkin'
Jimmy Smith (organ)
Groovin’ at Smalls’ Paradise (Blue Note 1585/6)
Recorded: New York, November 15, 1957
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Jimmy Smith was the most important organist in jazz, the guy who turned the Hammond B-3 into a bona fide jazz instrument, and Groovin’ at Smalls’ Paradise is his greatest recording. A two-disc set drawn from a night at the famed Harlem jazz club, it burns and grooves like mad. “Walkin’” is taken at a nice middle tempo, Smith’s feet literally walking the familiar bassline on the pedals while his hands massage the keyboards. Guitarist Eddie McFadden’s solo is particularly bright and effusive, punctuated by Smith’s swirls and stabs. Smith’s own solo, which begins at the 4½-minute mark and runs for 5 whole minutes, tears up the keys with machine-gun rapidity. It ranks among his most invigorating moments on record. A perfect blues from a great trio.
Reviewer: Steve Greenlee