Jimmy Smith
(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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A side-effect of hard bop was to legitimize the fusion of jazz and soul music. This sub-genre in turn opened the doors of jazz music to the most glorious of soul's instruments: the Hammond organ, with its rough, distorted sound (particularly the model introduced in 1955). The pioneer of jazz organ had been "Wild" Bill Davis, who in 1950 had organized the first of his organ-guitar-drums trios. Jimmy Smith (1925) simply copied his style, but with one hand imitating the solos of horn players. After debuting with the spotty A New Sound A New Star (february 1956) and beginning to compose his material on The Champ (march 1956), Smith matured on The Sermon (february 1958), a tour de force that contained two monster jams: J.O.S. (august 1957), in a trio with altoist George Coleman and trumpeter Lee Morgan, and especially the 20-minute The Sermon (Morgan, altoist Lou Donaldson, tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, guitarist Kenny Burrell, drummer Art Blakey). Most of his recordings were lame collections of covers, but originals such as Open House (march 1960) and Plain Talk (march 1960), performed with altoist Jackie McLean, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, guitarist Quentin Warren and tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec, laid the groundwork for the new, improved sound of Back at the Chicken Shack (april 1960), featuring Burrell and tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, and containing two more extended Smith gems: Back at the Chicken Shack and Messy Bessy. Too many recordings resulted in material of very low quality (except another april 1960 collaboration with Turrentine and Burrell, Midnight Special), big-band efforts arranged by Oliver Nelson and commercial sell-outs such as Bashin' (march 1962), until he redeemed himself with The Dynamic Duo (september 1966), a collaboration with guitarist Wes Montgomery.

Jimmy Smith died in 2005.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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