The Classic Verve Albums Collection, Eight Classic Albums on 4 CDs!
Jazz pioneer and Hammond Organ’s most acclaimed practitioner, Jimmy Smith bridged the gap between soul and jazz, and along with the likes of Ray Charles, forged a sound that appealed to a wide ranging cross-section of music fans during the 50s and 60s. Smith’s instrument of choice, the Hammond B-3 with its unique sound and unusual range, adapted well to the genre’s flexible leanings, and while Smith was far from the first jazz musician to utilise the organ – legends Count Basie and Fats Waller had both done so in an earlier era – Smith applied the instrument in such a way as to attract the mainstream; he was rewarded for this by becoming one of jazz music’s household names and by having his albums fly high on the Billboard Chart in the early 1960s – an unusual feat for a jazz man. Following an impressive debut at Small’s Paradise in New York, witnessed by Blue Note’s Alfred Lyon, Jimmy Smith signed to the label, and between 1954 and 1962 he recorded more than 40 sessions for them, resulting in over 30 records. The list of albums Smith recorded for Blue Note included jazz classics such as The Sermon!, House Party, Home Cookin’, Midnight Special, Back at the Chicken Shack and Prayer Meetin’ among a host of others. But in 1962 Smith left Blue Note and signed with another legendary jazz organisation, Verve Records, for whom, later the same year, he recorded and released Bashin’: The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith. The record was an unprecedented critical and commercial success, featuring Smith accompanied by a big band and arranged by saxophonist Oliver Nelson; a version of Elmer Bernstein’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side,’ when released as a single, was a sizeable hit. This 4CD compilation brings together eight of Jimmy Smith’s finest albums, recorded for the Verve label between 1962 and 1964.