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Bashin': The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith

Essential Jazz Classics EJC 55607



Bashin': The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith

1. Walk On The Wild Side

2. Ol' Man River

3. In A Mellow Tone

4. Step Right Up

5. Beggar For The Blues

6. Bashin'

7. I'm An Old Cow Hand (From The Rio Grande)

8. Bashin' (45 rpm issue)

9. Ol' Man River (45 rpm issue)

Tracks 1-4

Jimmy Smith - Organ

Jerry Dodgion , Phil Woods - Alto saxes

Bob Ashton, Arthur "Babe" Clarke - Tenor saxes

George Barrow - Baritone sax

Joe Newman , Ernie Royal, Doc Severinsen, Joe Wilder - Trumpets

Thomas Mitchell - Bass tuba

Jimmy Cleveland , Urbie Green, Britt Woodman - Trombones

Thomas Mitchell - Bass tuba

Barry Galbraith - Guitar

George Duvivier - Bass

Ed Shaughnessy - Drums

Oliver Nelson - Arranger, conductor

Tracks 5-8

Jimmy Smith - Organ

Quentin Warren - Guitar

Donald Bailey - Drums

Jimmy Smith Plays Fats Waller

10. Everybody Loves My Baby

11. Squeeze Me

12. Ain't She Sweet

13. Ain't Misbehavin'

14. Lulu's Back in Town

15. Honeysuckle Rose

16. I've Found A New Baby

Jimmy Smith - Organ

Quentin Warren - Guitar

Donald Bailey - Drums

The front cover may be misleading, as this CD actually includes the contents of two LPs: not only the one named on the cover but also Jimmy Smith Plays Fats Waller. Both albums were recorded in 1962. Bashin' was (and is) a classic album because it contains four tracks arranged and conducted by Oliver Nelson, who had already esdtablished his credentials as an arranger with such albums as Blues and the Abstract Truth. In particular, the opening track, Walk On The Wild Side, is a remarkable piece of work, with Jimmy Smith only entering halfway through after a perfect drum crescendo from Ed Shaughnessy. Ed's drumming contributes significantly to the success of the Nelson items (tracks 1 to 4).

Oliver Nelson's arrangements let Jimmy Smith have his head, without the all-star big band always joining in. It is as if the band is punctuating Smith's monologues. The orchestra is at the fore in the introduction to such numbers as In A Mellow Tone where, like Walk On The Wild Side, the band's introduction provides a lead-up to Jimmy Smith's solo. Some of Jimmy's solos tend to be repetitive, depending on repeated notes or riffs, although he displays sensitivity in the slow Beggar For The Blues. This shows a feeling for the blues, as does Quentin Warren's guitar solo in Bashin'. The latter is one of four tracks where Smith is part of a trio, without the big band.

The title of Jimmy Smith Plays Fats Waller is also misleading, as only three of the seven tunes were composed (or rather, part-composed) by Waller. The flimsy excuse for the title is that the four other tunes were all recorded by Fats, but this hardly fulfils one's expectations from the album title. However, the connection between Fats Waller and Jimmy Smith is Waller's love for the organ, of which Fats said "I can get so much more colour from it than the piano that it really sends me". This is another trio recording, with the same guitarist and drummer as on tracks 5 to 8 of the Bashin' LP. However, Quentin Warren and Donald Bailey don't have much to do except play gently behind Smith, who gets all the limelight. Jimmy adds a touch of the blues to the Waller numbers, and he takes Squeeze Me with appropriate tenderness. The whole CD shows Jimmy Smith as a man of many talents, able to conjure up all kinds of sounds and moods.

Tony Augarde

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