Sizzling Hot Jazz Fiddle!!!!
L. J. Allen | Atlanta, GA United States | 03/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
Jazz violinist Stuff Smith's career actually peaked in the 1930s and enjoyed a brief resurgence in the late 1950s. Without question he is one of the most underappreciated Jazz soloists of the twentieth and now twenty-first centuries.
A master violinist who used only the last six or eight inches of the bow of the violin to produce his signature melodic slurs and pizzicato staccato sound, he delivers again on this CD reissue of his 1959 album CAT ON A HOT FIDDLE. While there isn't a track to be ignored, some performances stand out. Smith absolutely swings and glistens on the Gershwin and Gershwin composition "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and he resorts to rapid fire improvisation on the Billy Strayhorn composition (and Duke Ellington Orchestra trademark piece) "Take The A-Train."
The Brothers Gershwin compositions make up most of this splendid outing that finds Smith accompanied on nine of eleven tracks by the saucy and always swinging pianist Shirley Horn along with bassist Red Mitchell who delivers a succulent bass solo on Strayhorn's "A-Train." Smith's own considerable skills as a composer are offered on the self-penned "Blue Violin" and "Nice and Warm." And his Satchmo-esque (and occasionally humorous) vocals are offered on "Oh, Lady, Be Good" and "Somebody Loves Me." This Verve reissue is a most welcome addition to the label's steadily growing catalogue. This perfectly remastered recording should satisfy the most discriminating Jazz fan and initiate the uninitiated listener into the sheer glory of Stuff Smith. But buyer beware: Once you hear Stuff, you'll have to buy some more Stuff!!!"