Tracks selected by Grover Washington, Jr.
Personnel includes: Jimmy Smith (organ); Oliver Nelson, Claus Ogerman (arranger, conductor); Jerry Dodgion, Phil Woods (alto saxophone); Bob Ashton, Babe Clarke, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims (tenor saxophone); George Barrow (baritone saxophone); Conte Candoli, Clark Terry, Joe Newman, Ernie Royal, Doc Severinsen, Joe Wilder (trumpet); Billy Byers, Ernie Track, Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green, Britt Woodman (trombone); Tommy Mitchell (bass trombone); Plas Johnson, Tom Scott (woodwinds); Quentin Warren, Howard Roberts, Kenny Burrell, Barry Gailbraith, Mark Whitfield (guitar); Ray Brown, George Duvivier (bass); Grady Tate, Donald Bailey, Billy Hart, Larry Bunker, Ed Shaughnessy, Gregory Hutchinson (drums); Ray Barretto (congas).
Producers: Esmond Edwards, Richard Seidel, Don Sickler, Creed Taylor.
Compilation producer: Richard Seidel.
Recorded between 1962 and 1995. Includes liner notes by Bob Blumenthal and Grover Washington, Jr.
This is part of the Verve Ultimate Series.
Verve's Ultimate Jimmy Smith may not live up to its billing -- after all, many of Smith's classic recordings were for Blue Note -- but the budget-priced collection is nevertheless a terrific introductory sampler. Grover Washington, Jr., a kindred spirit in the quest for groove, selected the 12 songs on the compilation, and he did an excellent job of balancing acknowledged classics with choices that illustrate Smith's range. Some listeners will undoubtedly find a favorite or two missing, but these 11 tracks -- including "The Champ," "Refractions," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf," "Walk on the Wild Side," "L'il Darlin'," "Ol' Man River," "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" and "Organ Grinder Swing" -- capture the essence of Smith's Verve recordings, which is enough to make this a worthwhile sampler. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine