- Released: October 30, 2006
- Label: Wounded Bird Records
- 1.Off The Top
- 2.Endless Love
- 4.I'll Drink To That
- 5.Theme From M.A.S.H. (Suicide Is Painless)
- 6.Ain't Misbehavin'
- 7.Jimmy Smith Rap
Personnel: Jimmy Smith (organ, ARP synthesizer); Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone); George Benson (guitar); Ron Carter (bass); Grady Tate (drums); Errol "Crusher" Bennett (percussion).
Recorded at Generation Sound Studios, New York, New York on June 7, 1982. Includes liner notes by Jimmy Smith.
The meaning of this album's title is two-fold. As Smith explains in the liner notes, the title refers both to the improvisatory nature of the music and to the fact that the outstanding instrumentalists were hand-picked "off the top of the pile." With a stellar line-up that includes George Benson on guitar, Ron Carter on bass, Grady Tate on drums and Stanley Turrentine on sax, the musicianship is top-notch, beautifully augmenting and supporting Smith's skillful keyboard manipulations.
While covers of Lionel Richie's "Endless Love" and the theme from M*A*S*H may be a bit too Muzak-y for die-hard Smith fans, the free-flowing soul of the title track and "I'll Drink To That," and the gentle tropical sway of Benson's "Mimosa" deliver in the old style. The record closes with an uptempo treatment of "Ain't Misbehavin'" and a short speech by Smith telling us how much the players enjoyed making the album and how jazz is the only music that's going to last. Given the eminently enjoyable artistry displayed here, that may well be the case.