Jimmy Smith: Midnight Special


Midnight Special


Jimmy Smith (organ)


Midnight Special (Blue Note 84078)

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Jimmy Smith (organ), Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Donald Bailey (drums).

Composed by Jimmy Smith


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, April 25, 1960


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

“Midnight Special” may be the tastiest recording Jimmy Smith ever made. Recorded at a session that produced both the albums Back At The Chicken Shack and Midnight Special, this medium blues (an original, not the rock/blues classic) moves along at an absolutely perfect tempo and completely captures the mood of a slow-moving midnight freight train. It’s a groove you could ride all night, and while this cut comes in at just under 10 minutes, you get the feeling that the quartet played on it for another half-hour or so after the recording faded out. In fact, maintaining that groove seemed to be the primary goal and each soloist (most notably Smith) knew how to express himself without losing the mood. And in that regard, it’s important to note that there’s never the feeling of the soloists holding back. It’s just that wonderful skill of playing together to create something bigger and better than its individual parts.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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