Jimmy Smith: Blues For J


Blues For J


Jimmy Smith (organ)


Organ Grinder Swing (Verve 543831)

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Jimmy Smith (organ), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Grady Tate (drums).

Composed by Jimmy Smith


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 14-15,1965


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

Organ Grinder Swing, a trio session, was a rarity during Jimmy Smith's heavily orchestrated Verve years. The appealing title cut got most of the jazz radio airplay, so unless you picked up the LP, the organist's remarkable solo on "Blues for J" could easily have gone unheard. The sinuous, slightly sinister-sounding theme is played in unison by Smith and Burrell, but after the guitarist's brief solo, Smith takes over for the duration. His elaborate organ runs are punched out with both great speed and crystal-clear articulation, while a ceaseless bassline is maintained on his foot pedals. Smith then introduces an emphatic sustained note over which he plays truncated, expressive phrases. This is bop-based soulful blues, accompanied and personalized by Smith's own verbal moans and grunts as he creates one of his finest solos. Has there ever been another musician in jazz so influential and dominant on one instrument as Smith was on organ? Probably not.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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  • 1 Justin White // Apr 25, 2009 at 04:28 AM
    The above mentioned performance is one of several on an album that, 40-plus years ago, convinced me that Jimmy Smith reigned supreme on his instrument. Greensleeves, a modal 6/8 powerhouse, is another great cut. Additionally, throughout the album, the contributions of Kenny Burrell and Grady Tate are up to their grade "A" standards. This album is well organized, spontaneous and essential. If it were recorded today I am sure we would have another 20-25 minutes of exceptional jazz music to assimilate. Thanks for this recollection.