Monday, January 11, 2010

Jimmy SMITH - Cool Blues 1958

Jimmy SMITH - Cool Blues 1958
Recorded Live at Small's Paradise, New York City, April 7, 1958


Anyone coming to "Cool Blues" from the direction of "Dot Com Blues" might not recognise the artist as the same one that appears on this album. Fear not! It's also true that anybody who bought this album the first time round in 1980 might not recognise it either - the 24 bit remastering here has also righting some pitch errors that were audible on the vinyl version.None of these sessions - three of them - all recorded live on April 7th 1958 made it out in complete formfor 22 years. It's possible to see why simply by the length of several of the tracks. Nor should the listener think that they're going to hear sessions without musical imperfections.I had to include all the above to get at the album. It absolutely fizzes with energy and thought. Smith, who'd only been professional for three years allows the soloists lots of time and space.It's difficult to pick favourite tracks. "Groovin at Smalls" has Art Blakey on drums and he propels the whole thing along at a frantic pace and with enormous energy, which was clearly transmitted to all the others on the session.At over 12 minutes everybody gets to stretch out.The version of Dizzy Gillespies "A night in Tunisia" contains some great solos as well. On "Cool Blues" Lou Donaldson was on tremendous form, but then got lost as he waited for Smith to come back in.It's what's kept in,from the live date that is important in setting the atmosphere that makes it sound as though a good time was had by all. This is not an album to asimilate in a single sitting, this is one that will yield up different pleasures on every hearing. Get out there and buy it now - before Blue Note delete it again!
By  Dr.D.Treharne.
This live recording of Jimmy Smith (born 1926) was recorded on April 7,1958 at Small's Paradise,NYC.In 1980,four tracks were first issued on Blue Note.This time,we have the opportunity to listen to 70 minutes of great music,remastered by Rudy Van Gelder.Besides Jimmy Smith is the very blues oriented guitar of Eddie McFaden,the parkerian alto sax of Lou Donaldson,the very rare and underrated Tina Brooks on tenor sax (born 1932,he recorded with Smith,Kenny Burrell,Freddie Hubbard,Freddie Redd and Jackie McLean,made four LPs for Blue Note under his own name,and died in 1974 after a short but very sad life).Donald Bailey (tracks 5-8) and Art Blakey play drums.
The highlight of the record is certainly the seventeen minutes long version of Dizzy Gillespie's "Night in Tunisia",and Buhaina,aka Mr Blakey,surely is responsible for that.Every musician who had once in his life the opportunity to play this tune backed by Art Blakey had to play great.The terrific beat of his african drums makes it so easy for a soloist to improvise.Art Blakey's drumming in this tune is the epitome of swing.He could transcend every player,and that's what happened at Small's.Tina Brooks,first,who even quotes "Laura" during his solo;then,Lou Donaldson,and listen to Blakey's outstanding work during his intervention;Eddie McFaden comes after,and it looks like he loved Charlie Christian's style;then,a terrific solo by Jimmy Smith,a great moment of swing and invention."Small's minor" is very very reminiscent of John Coltrane's "Mr P.C."."What's new",one of the most beautiful ballads ever written,is beautifully played by Donaldson."Dark eyes",a traditional gipsy song,rarely played by jazz musicians,offers good opportunities for swinging.This night at Small's must have been a very exciting one,and singer Babs Gonzales,who made the announcements,surely had a good time listening to his pals.This is an important issue,a very great hour of intense bebop music.
Lou Donaldson- Alto Sax (#1-6)
Tina Brooks- Tenor Sax (#1-4)
Jimmy Smith- Organ
Eddie McFadden - Guitar
Art Blakey- Drums (#1-3)
Donald Bailey- Drums (#4-8)
01. Dark Eyes (11:43)
02. Groovin' At Small's 12:01)
03. Announcement By Babs Gonzales (:26)
04. A Night In Tunisia (17:04)
05. Cool Blues (11:07)
06. What's New (6:18)
07. Small's Minor (6:44)
08. Once In A While (6:46)

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