Saturday, February 26, 2005

Jimmy Smith...A True Innovator (RIP)

News just caught up with me that Jazz innovator Jimmy Smith passed away recently. The exact date of his departure was Feb. 8th, 2005. This post is dedicated to his memory. RIP.

Jimmy Smith was a true innovator in Jazz. He did amazing and brilliant work, was quite prolific, and was commercially successful. Jimmy Smith's career spanned from the 1950's to the 2000's. His works have been immortalized on the audio media of two of the world's most important and influential jazz labels: Blue Note and Verve.

Jimmy was a master pianist who did with the Hammond B3 what many thought was impossible. He made it funky and orchestral at the same time. His music was also very eclectic ranging from the standards to blues to swing to funk. He also employed quite an array of musicians in his compositions. For instance, the track I am choosing to share with you all entitled "Burning Spear" has a deep bass groove with lush strings, flutes, and guitars that bring forth a mellifluous melody that beautifully enhances the ornate organ playing of Smith himself.

Today Jimmy Smith's influence can be heard in a variety of artists and styles. Jimmy's track "Root Down" was sampled by The Beastie Boys for their hit of the same title. Jimmy has also influenced many Acid Jazz artists such as Groove Collective, Incognito, and Us3 who incorporate his groove into their works.

Without further adieu I give you "Burning Spear" for your listening pleasure. Sit back and enjoy the funk of Jimmy Smith!

Burning Spear