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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Music: Jimmy Smith, Organ Grinder Swing


Today I'd like to write about one of my favorite musicians, Jimmy Smith. He recorded a lot of albums. If I would have to pick my favorite of his records, it would be Organ Grinder Swing:

The name of the opening track, which gave the album it's title says it all: It opens right away with swinging and grinding organ sounds. Unbelievably groovy with that typical throbbing rythm.

The album was recorded 1965 under the Verve label. The recording engineer was the famous Rudy van Gelder. He managed to capture those harmonically rich organ sounds perfectly. The sound balance is a bit on the dark side as is very typical for van Gelder. But the tonal balance fits nicely to the instruments. Also the sounds of Kenny Burell's guitar blend in beautifully.

Throughout the whole album Jimmy Smith's passionate play keeps drawing you in. He was an amazing musician who's career lasted many decades. His nick name 'The Incredible' was well deserved.

I had the luck to hear Jimmy Smith live before he passed away. At that time his health was already deteriorating. He was actually half paralyzed. Still he would give live concerts! He just used one hand to play. Even one handed he grooved away on that Hammond 300B!

Jimmy Smith recorded a lot of albums some them are very different. He worked both with Verve and Blue Note. If you have none of his records yet, The organ grinder swing would my recommendation to start with. It is not very rare and can be found at second han record stores at acceptable prices. Go get it and savor it!

Best regards


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