5 classic albums from Hammond organ giant Jimmy Smith – all packaged together in cool LP-styled sleeves! First up is The Champ – aka A New Sound A New Star Vol 2 – a savage bit of raw organ grooves from the late 50s. Jimmy's work on the keys is fierce, and filled with wild flourishes that you don't always hear in his later albums. The record includes a nice long version of Dizzy Gillespie
's "The Champ", plus the cuts "Bayou", "Ready N Able", "Moonlight In Vermont", "Deep Purple", "Tuquoise", and "Bubbis". (Catalog number BLP 1514, in case you can't remember the cover.) House Party is one of the best hard-wailing all-star sessions that Jimmy did so well for Blue Note! The album features an amazing array of top-line players – like Tina Brooks, Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Lou Donaldson, Art Blakey, and Kenny Burrell – and they all play with Smith in differing combinations, all of which have an open-ended groove that sounds very nice, and very much like the kind of material that Smith would have laid down at some small club in the late 50s. Titles include "Blues After All", "Au Private", and "Lover Man". Plays Fats Waller is a Jimmy Smith Blue Note session dedicated to Fats Waller, one of the first jazz musicians to work out his skills on the organ! Jimmy's working with a tight trio that includes Quentin Warren on guitar and Donald Bailey on drums – and although Waller never wowed anybody on the instrument in the same way that Smith did, he did come up with a nice way of getting a good sound out of the instrument – one that Jimmy rightly acknowledges here, then takes to the next level! The album features familiar tunes from the Waller songbook, but the performance is definitely prime Jimmy Smith on Blue Note – a set with titles that include "Lulu's Back In Town", "Honeysuckle Rose", "Ain't Misbehavin", "I've Found A New Baby", "Ain't She Sweet", and "Squeeze Me". Last up are Volumes 1 and 2 of Live At The Club Baby Grand – both of which feature Jimmy Smith heard in the kind of setting that spawned him – playing live at Delaware's Club Baby Grand – just the sort of smoky little jazz room that initially fostered his talents! The liveness of the set brings a really nice edge to the album – a sound that's grittier than some of Jimmy Smith's studio work of the early Blue Note years – and which features him really stretching out on the Hammond, taking close to 10 minutes to run through each tune – and that's saying a lot, given that there's hardly any other soloists! The rest of the group features Thornel Schwartz on guitar and Donald Bailey on drums – and tracks include "Sweet Georgia Brown", "Where Or When", "Rosetta", "Caravan", "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing", "Get Happy", "It's All Right With Me", and "The Preacher".