The SermonBlue Note 4011
- The Sermon
- J.O.S. (*)
JIMMY SMITH; organ
LOU DONALDSON, GEORGE COLEMAN (*); alto sax
TINA BROOKS; tenor sax
LEE MORGAN; trumpet
KENNY BURRELL, EDDIE McFADDEN (*); guitar
ART BLAKEY, DONALD BAILEY (*); drums
Jimmy Smith, the finest organist Jazz has ever known, had his first taste of fame recording for blue note in the 1950’s and 60’s. He recorded a string of classic albums, giving the organ a definite place as a solo instrument in jazz, while at the same time almost single-handedly inventing the genre of soul jazz. Many of his Blue Note recordings were trio affairs, but this 1957 recording brings in the horns to great effect.
The highlight is the 20-minute plus “The Sermon”. Smith kicks it off in typical style before Brooks and Donaldson get in on the act with some great trading of lines over the next few minutes. Everything happens when it’s meant to – the changes are predictable, but Blakey keeps the the groove going and provides great support for the extended solos. Of particular note is Lee Morgan’s trumpet solo, which manages to be funky and explorative at the same time. His unison playing with Jimmy towards the end of the piece is excellent, too.
This is as fine an example of Blue Note-era Jimmy Smith as you could hope to find, being the perfect synthesis of jazz and groove. The only problem is, it very much set the pattern, and there was little development in Smith’s sound until his move to Verve and the classic big band sessions of the 1960’s.
None of that matters listening to this LP, though – just let the groove take you through, and this turns out to be enjoyable music, and great jazz too.