Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jimmy Smith at Baby Grand, vol. 1 & 2

Playing piano-style single-note lines on his Hammond B-3 organ, Jimmy Smith revolutionized the use of the instrument in a jazz combo setting in the mid-'50s and early '60s, and he was still the next big thing on the block when he recorded two LP volumes live over the course of two afternoon sets and three evening sets on August 4, 1956, at Club Baby Grand in Wilmington, DE. Smith had already tracked three successful studio LPs for Blue Note Records at sessions held earlier in the year in February, March, and June, and the time seemed right to present him in a concert setting where the full whirlwind force of his speedy playing could be best appreciated. Working with guitarist Thornel Schwartz and his longtime drummer Donald Bailey (who worked with Smith throughout his Blue Note years), Smith is 90 percent of the show here, bursting out with amazing rapid runs on the B-3, filling the air from one end of the room to the other as only he could. This first volume is drawn from the three evening sets, opening with what was actually the last selection of the night, a zippy, headlong version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and highlighted by a nearly 12-minute version of Horace Silver's "The Preacher," a piece Smith has already made his own. It's all Jimmy Smith in full flight, bubbling over with cascading notes and breathless detours, and if his studio work is generally more structured and considered (but only a little more so), this set shows him in what was his natural habitat, astounding an audience in a small club. Bailey keeps up with things and Schwartz gets a word in now and then, but this is Smith's show all the way. [The remastered version, completed by Rudy Van Gelder in 2007, contains no additional material.]
Steve Leggett


Jimmy Smith
At Club "Baby Grand"
vol. 1


1 Introduction by Mitch Thomas 0:57
2 Sweet Georgia Brown (Pinkard) 9:34
3 Where or When (Hart, Rodgers) 9:18
4 The Preacher (Silver) 11:45
5 Rosetta (Hines, Woods) 10:08


Jimmy Smith
At Club "Baby Grand"
vol. 2


1 Caravan (Ellington, Mills, Tizol) 10:21
2 Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (Fain, Webster) 10:46
3 Get Happy (Arlen, Koehler) 7:25
4 It's Alright with Me (Porter) 11:54

Jimmy Smith - org
Thornel Schwartz - g
Donald Bailey - dr

Recorded live at Club Baby Grand, Wilmington, Delaware ; August 4, 1956 
 This second volume draws three of its four tracks from the second afternoon set ("Get Happy" is from the last set of the evening show) and is highlighted by the opening track, a ten-plus-minute version of Duke Ellington's "Caravan" that turns on Schwartz's fine guitar leads. Otherwise, it's all Jimmy Smith, who careens, bolts, stutters, glides, and flashes notes all over the place at a frequently breathless pace, and if Smith's studio work is generally more structured, arranged, and considered (but only a little more so), this set shows him in what was his natural habitat, astounding an audience in a small club.
Steve Leggett



Pippo said...

Thank you Melanchthon, beautiful share !

Xapy Nono said...

Un immense merci!

CHURLIE said...


Telecaster Road said...

Once again, Thank you!

Thad said...

Very nice! I have an old bootleg (Giants of Jazz series) that has selections from both volumes, so it's nice to hear the full picture. Thanks so much!

Leopold said...

deGallo said...

Thank you.

CrunchyFrog said...

Jimmy Smith rules the universe! 'nuff said.

bongohito said...

i've downloaded this three times and each time the files show as corrupt.