Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jimmy Smith - Walk On The Wild Side

Album - Bashin'
Recorded - 1962

What better for a night when I'm in a big band mood than this? Coming right at the start of Jimmy Smith's fertile association with both Verve and Oliver Nelson, this is a lesson in both arranging and solo performance. The piece splits itself into two; the first half is the slow building band section, bringing out the original melody in a tight arrangement that has moments of high brass drama interspersed between the swagger.

Jimmy bursts in at the half way point with one of his trademark descending introductions, then proceeds to redefine the role of the organ in jazz (yet again). He manages to be melodic, inventive, funky and gritty all at once, as usual. Also featured is as fine an example of Jimmy's 2-note modulating solos that you could ever wish to hear. Then we get to hear what we all came for - Jimmy playing with the band in an exciting call-and-response section that leads up to the all-horns-blazing climax. Phew!

Somehow I don't think I've done this outstanding piece of music justice. Go listen!

Any more information regarding the Jimster is best found here.

1 comment:

stewart said...

I sometimes get the feeling that Jimmy is seen as something of a lightweight in terms or Serious Jazz. But listen to that 2-note modulating solo. All the other sounds are almost sucked out of the piece and it just drags at time. It's thirty seconds long but it seems longer. And this on a piece of commercial jazz that was a hit single! It certainly isn't soul jazz, that's for sure. Big band avant-ish soul jazz?

I've listened to a lot of organ jazz and there is no one, and i mean, seriously, NO ONE, comes anywhere near Jimmy when he goes off on one.

Ahh, the high notes…