Welcome To A Blast From The Past.
These articles are archives published online at BluesWax as The Ezine,
we hope you enjoy reading them.
Originally Published Janury 05, 2001
The Soul Jazz Master of the Hammond
Organ Gets Seriously Blue
Jimmy Smith, the man who revolutionized the use of the Hammond organ in the ’50s and ’60s, and became the main pioneer of Soul Jazz, has released an album that digs down into his Blues roots. Titled Dot Com Blues, Smith gets plenty of assistance on the disc from some stellar names in the Blues field. Etta James, Dr. John, B.B. King, Taj Mahal, and Keb’ Mo’ all contribute, each singing one song apiece.
The core band consists of Smith, Reggie McBride on bass guitar, and the funky Harvey Mason on drums. Russell Malone, John Porter, and Phil Upchurch split and share the guitar duties.
The album starts with a strong medium tempo groove, with Dr. John doing the piano and the smoky singing on his song, “Only In It For The Money.” It’s great to hear Smith adding his organ work to the mix, along with the Texicali Horns (Joe Sublett and Darrell Leonard).
Track two, “8 Counts For Rita,” is a little more typical of what you have come to expect from Smith – a funky instrumental organ workout, with Malone pulling off some jazzy guitar licks.
“Strut” is next, and the title is very appropriate as the band sits down on an infectious groove that makes you want to strut ’round the room, singing along with Taj Mahal. It reminds me somewhat of Taj’s old tune, “Going Up The Country And Paint My Mailbox Blue.” What a nice and easy feel and vibe…
Next, Smith does a long, slow, but nice instrumental arrangement of the old classic, “C C Rider.”
Etta James turns up the heat for a fresh twist on Willie Dixon’s “I Just Wanna Make Love To You.” The Texicali Horns return, and the soulful duo of “Sweet Pea” Atkins and Sir Harry Bowen add backing vocals.
The horns and backing vocals are also found on Keb’ Mo’s offering, a slow and steamy “Over & Over.” Keb’ is certainly feeling the deep Blues here, singing about his woman who seems to be always walking out the door, leaving him over and over.
Between Etta’s and Keb’s songs, Smith pays tribute to the great Duke Ellington with an 8:46 version of Duke’s classic “Mood Indigo.” Indigo, of course, is the deepest shade of Blue. This one definitely brings home a mellow and somber mood.
The King of the Blues, Mr. B.B. King, steps up next and gets to reprise his very first hit, “Three O’Clock Blues.” B.B. gives a typically passionate performance. The band on this cut consists of the excellent Chris Stainton on piano, Pino Palladino on bass, Andy Newmark on drums, John Porter on rhythm guitar, and, of course, Jimmy Smith on organ.
The album finishes with three more instrumental tracks. Sandwiched between the title cut and “Tuition Blues”, Dr. John makes his presence felt once again with his funkified collaboration with Smith, called “Mr. Johnson.”
Jimmy Smith shows on this disc, once and for all, that the Hammond organ can be one of the most expressive instruments for the Blues. He can send chill bumps running along your arms and down your back. Even though Smith is better known as a Jazz artist, he has always had the Blues all up in his playing. Dot Com Blues is the most convincing testimony to the fact that Soul, Jazz, and Blues make beautiful partners in the capable hands of Jimmy Smith and friends.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! ” DeafJelloStoner ” you are this week’s winner of a Leon Russell CD. Go to the Backstage to collect your prize. Remember to play the quiz each week for your chance to win great prizes
About the Author: