Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith

The sound of the Hammond B3 organ is a staple of jazz, and no-one is more famous for their infectious B3 grooves than Jimmy Smith. Signed to the prestigious Blue Note label in his early thirties, Smith carved out a long, fruitful and illustrious career as he developed a bluesy, soulful sound that became known as ‘soul jazz’. The fabulous Back At The Chicken Shack (1960) is a classic example of Smith’s groove, thought it’s hard to separate this from the brilliant Midnight Special, released a year later but recorded at the same sessions.

Jimmy Smith refused to get stuck in one groove, however, and the seventies saw him injecting some funk into his soul jazz, with 1972’s Root Down being a famous (and fabulous) example. Smith’s eighties albums are very solid too, and worth checking out if you encounter them. For fans of that special jazz organ sound, the Jimmy Smith catalogue has literally dozens of gems (Bashin’ [1962], Prayer Meetin’ [1963], even The Cat [1964] with it’s strings and cool lounge vibe). Any of the sixties titles mentioned here will set you on the B3 path to soul jazz transcendence.

 

 

 

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