Salle Pleyel – 1969

Jimmy Smith

The premiere jazz organist stretches out with his trio

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To simplify things a bit, in jazz the history of the organ can easily be divided into two parts: Pre-Jimmy Smith and Post-Jimmy Smith.

While there were a few fine organists before Smith (most notably Wild Bill Davis, Bill Doggett and a handful of part-time players including Fats Waller and Count Basie), the organ was often thought of as a novelty instrument best suited for ice skating rinks.

That all changed after Smith burst upon the New York jazz scene in 1956, playing passionate versions of blues, standards and ballads while showing that bebop and the organ can fit very well together.

At the 1969 Salle Pleyel Festival, Smith and his regular trio with guitarist Eddie McFadden and drummer Charlie Crosby perform an extended set before an appreciative crowd.

Beginning with the uptempo blues “Sonnymoon For Two” and progressing to a very slow rendition of “The Days Of Wine And Roses,” Smith and his trio perform swinging and soulful versions of “The Sermon,” “Alfie,” “Satin Doll,” “Organ Grinder’s Swing,” “Got My Mojo Working,” “See See Rider,” “Eight Counts For Rita,” “My Romance,” and a second version of “Satin Doll.”

-Scott Yanow


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