Verve's Great Songs/Great Performances series is yet another attempt in a seemingly never-ending stream of them to repackage – and hopefully resell – their vast catalog of jazz and blues. They're super cheap in both cost and presentation, but the music is almost always stellar. Jimmy Smith's Plays the Hits volume is no exception. These eight selection are covers of tunes by the Rolling Stones (" Satisfaction"), Fats Domino ("Blueberry Hill"), Don Covay ("Chain of Fools") James Brown ("Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"), Otis Redding ("Respect"), Al Green ("Let's Stay Together"), and others. It's a groove lover's cheap dream.
The seven sides on The Sermon! (1958) come from a pair of studio dates, the first of which was held August 25, 1957 and includes Jimmy Smith (organ), Lee Morgan (trumpet), George Coleman (alto sax), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Eddie McFadden (guitar), Kenny Burrell (guitar) and Donald Bailey (drums). This was followed by a second exactly six months (to the day) later on February 25, 1958. Along with Smith, present and accounted for during the session were Lou Donaldson (alto sax) replacing Coleman in addition to contributions from Tina Brooks (tenor sax) and the ubiquitous Art Blakey (drums). ~ AllMusic
These recordings from 1957 are among the most momentous to appear in the Rudy Van Gelder series, marking the first American appearance on CD of these early live recordings and adding four previously unreleased tracks. Accompanied by his regular band of guitarist Eddie McFadden and drummer Donald Bailey, Smith is an extraordinary musical presence, combining the energy of a big band and a sanctified congregation as he serves up kinetic versions of pop songs, jazz standards, and blues. ~ Amazon
Some have said that Bucket! is the sound of organist Jimmy Smith punching the clock, checking in for a routine shift at work. But the man who added the Hammond organ to the postbop jazz vocabulary punches the clock in a way that few on their best days can match. In a classic organ jazz trio formation with drummer Don Bailey and guitarist Quentin Warren, this 1963 session reveals some interesting choices from the leader. ~ Amazon
This CD should greatly interest all Jimmy Smith collectors, including those who already have the original LP. In addition to four excellent selections (quintets with altoist Lou Donaldson, Tina Brooks on tenor, guitarist Eddie McFadden, either Art Blakey or Donald Bailey on drums and the organist/leader), there are three previously unissued numbers from the same gig, featuring the quartet of Donaldson, Smith, McFadden and Bailey. ~ AllMusic