Tuesday, May 30, 2006

28. The Incredible Jimmy Smith - Back at the Chicken Shack (1960)

Track Listing

1. Back At The Chicken Shack
2. When I Grow Too Old To Dream
3. Minor Chant
4. Messy Bessy
5. On The Sunny Side Of The Street


This album can be best described in one word, coool (has to be pronounced in a very Isaac Hayes-like style), or as the Fast Show would have it, "Nice". Jimmy Smith is credited with bringing the organ from the churches into jazz music and making it popular. He definitely does that in this album, it's just very very cool music, very jazz cluby and relaxed.

Also the album has a great sense of fun. Starting with the cover and going on to the playful tones of the title track, the whole album is a very fun thing to listen to. There are of course big standout songs here, and those are the title track and Minor Chant. It's worth listening to the album, even if it was just for those two tracks. The rest of the album is very enjoyable, but not particularly remarkable. Messy Bessie at 12 minutes long is in my opinion a tad over-streched.

That is indeed the only failing of the album, the brilliance of two of its songs make the rest pale in comparison, and not grab you as much. Again this is not because the rest of the album is bad, in fact it is very good, but because those are two great songs. The whole album, with its light mood, jazzy organ etc.. creates a great blend of soul and jazz music, making a kind of Soul-Jazz unlike anything before.

If you like organs, and jazz or soul music do give this a listen. If you don't, your loss mate. Stream it from Napster or buy it at Amazon, UK or US.

Track Highlights

(it's pointless to give 4 tracks as the album consists of 5)

1. Back at the Chicken Shack
2. Minor Chant

Final Grade



You too can play like Jimmy Smith with the Hammond B-3 Organ! Subject to availability, batteries not included.

Niiiiice. Great. Fantastic.

From Wikepedia:

Smith employed a unique technique to emulate a string bass player on the organ. Although he played walking bass lines on the pedals on ballads, for uptempo tunes, he would play the bass line on the lower manual and use the pedals for emphasis on the attack of certain notes. His solos were characterised by percussive chords mixed with very fast melodic improvisation with the right hand. He generally used a drawbar registration of 868000000 or 888000000 on the lower manual, which he used for the bass line and comping chords. He used a similar registration on the upper manual, which he used for soloing, but with the addition of the Hammond's percussion circuit.

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