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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



JIMMY SMITH

Plays Fats Waller

Blue Note 50999 2 15369 2 2

 

 



1. Everybody Loves My Baby
2. Squeeze Me
3. Ain't She Sweet
4. Ain't Misbehavin'
5. Lulu's back in Town
6. Honeysuckle Rose
7. I Found a New Baby
Jimmy Smith - Organ
Quentin Warren - Guitar
Donald Bailey - Drums
 

As an organist himself, Fats Waller would probably have appreciated this homage from Jimmy Smith if he had lived long enough to hear it. Whereas Jimmy Smith played the Hammond organ, Fats Waller played the pipe organ and made several memorable recordings on it. I particularly treasure Fats' version of Solitude with its uproarious out-loud comments.

Perhaps recognising that this is a tribute album, Jimmy Smith is remarkably restrained - for the most part avoiding his more extrovert tendencies. But it is all the more agreeable for this, matching the relaxed air that Waller often brought to his organ solos. Most tracks are leisurely and understated, with minimal input from the guitarist and drummer. And in tunes like Honeysuckle Rose, Smith makes the Hammond instrument sound almost like a pipe organ.

The album was recorded in 1962 and has now been well remastered by Rudy Van Gelder. Only three of the seven tracks are actually Waller compositions - Squeeze Me, Ain't Misbehavin' and Honeysuckle Rose - although the four other tunes are associated with Fats. It might have been nice to hear Jimmy Smith tackling such Waller inventions as Keepin' Out of Mischief Now or Black and Blue, while Jimmy might have found an outlet for livelier improvisations in other Waller compositions like Jitterbug Waltz and The Joint is Jumpin'

At any rate, despite its short playing-time of barely 35 minutes, this is an engaging album which proves that Jimmy Smith could be laid-back when he wanted to.


Tony Augarde


 

 

 

 



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