"This is one of Jimmy Smith's best albums, and it's his best live album by a long shot. It's got more balls than mid-'90s live albums like "The Master", is more focused than the sequel live album "Fourmost Return", and is slicker and less frenetic than '50s/'60s/'70s live albums like "Live at the Baby Grand", "Paris Jazz Concert" or "Root Down" (which are nonetheless all heavy in their own way). Jimmy's playing is red-hot, the all-star band cooks, and the engineer should be given a medal for getting such a good sound out of the organ--it's arguably the best Hammond sound ever caught on tape. To me, the album ranks right up there with his best (e.g., "The Cat", "Organ Grinder Swing", "Bashin"), and proves that Jimmy could really dish it out live, if you were lucky enough to catch him on a good night. 5 starts, hands down. A great start for anybody wanting to get to know Jimmy, especially if you're partial to raw, live recordings."
CJ Shearn | New York | 01/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this swinging live date from 1990 featuring longtime Smith comrades Kenny Burrell, Stanley Turrentine, and Grady Tate, is so groovy you should call a doctor! "Midnight Special" tops the original studio version, Stanley taking a deeply heartfelt solo, with the end of the tune having one of those trademark churchy Smith chords. "Summertime" has solid extremely tasteful backing by Grady Tate, and "Soulful Brothers" is as greasy as it gets, Jimmy doing some morse code stuttering reminiscient of his solo on "The Sermon" in 1958, albeit at a higher note. Smith's pyrotechnics further on "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars" when after a mindblowing phrase he yells "Oh My God! " Grady Tate steps away from the drums and gives an interesting vocal treatment on "My Funny Valentine" as well... this is a great recording, pick it up!"
(And frontmost.) The Rush of Excitement
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 02/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a keyboard player myself, I've always felt contrite, unworthy, and properly chastised when a drummer or horn player has accused me of "rushing" (musicians sometimes refer to it as "climbing out of the pocket"). But doggone it, what a drag it is when musicians get lethargic and stuck in auto pilot, playing "Satin Doll" for the ten thousandth time in the same tempo in the same way. No wonder this music doesn't get the attention of young listeners.
Enter Jimmy Smith, who is so charged with energy he can't contain himself. After each of Turrentine's solos (especially "Mainstem," "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," "Organ Grinder Swing"), it's Jimmy's turn, and he doesn't waste time. Immediately the tempo picks up, becoming so fast by the end of the tune (often doubled, in fact) that the musicians can barely get their notes in for the out chorus of the melody.
But along with speed, at least in Jimmy's case, is the irresistible swing. Jimmy may rush the beat, but it's the "right" beat. Suddenly your feet spring to life and the music iself becomes a physically-felt "rush," not merely a sedentary listening experience.
Jimmy Smith was incredible (the epithet frequently appearing before his name) because he brought a young boy's excitement and energy to the music, and it was something he never grew out of. When I last caught him live in the early '90's at Chicago's Blackstone Hotel (I even rode up in the elevator with him), he behaved like a 36-year-old going on 16 (I realize only now that he would have been in his sixties at the time).
His death strikes some of us as both sad and shocking because, in addition to being a legend and a progenitor, neither he nor his music ever got old."
Great Jimmy Smith live date
montego70 | NYC | 08/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful session that truly captures all the warmth and intimacy of an evening with the group in a club date setting, at "Fat Tuesdays" in NYC. My favorite Jimmy Smith line up. The chemistry within the group is very, very tight, and the artists are all inspired. The sound is soulful, crisp and highly polished, like 1,000 coats of clear lacquer on a piece of fine furniture. What else could you expect from a group of such seasoned professionals? They take us through a perfectly balanced set, and the whole thing is really one great moment. The quality of the recording is also excellent. The first CD I actually wore out from use. Even gets better after the first 900 times! A must have for any Jimmy Smith collection, you won't be disappointed."