- Released: May 24, 2005
- Label: EMI Mod Afw
- 1.Champ, The - (live)
- 2.All Day Long
- 3.When Johnny Comes Marching Home
- 4.See See Rider
- 5.The Jumpin' Blues
- 6.Back at the Chicken Shack
- 7.Fungii Mama
Personnel: Jimmy Smith (organ); Jimmy Smith (Hammond b-3 organ); Lou Donaldson (alto saxophone); Kenny Burrell, Thornel Schwartz, Quentin Warren (guitar); Stanley Turrentine, Percy France (tenor saxophone); Donald Bailey , Grady Tate, Art Blakey (drums); Crusher Bennett (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Donald Elfman.
Recording information: Manhattan Towers, New York, NY (03/27/1956-01/03/1986); Van Gelder Studios, Hackensack, NJ (03/27/1956-01/03/1986).
Photographer: Francis Wolff.
The cool, groove-drenched swirl of Jimmy Smith's organ is the quintessential sound of '50s and '60s soul-jazz, and Blue Note's THE VERY BEST OF is a tasty seven-track compilation of the master at work. Of the era's Hammond B-3 titans, Smith is probably the best known, and his synthesis of straightforward, blues-based groove and sophisticated bop vocabulary comes across just as fresh and enjoyable today as it did when he was first on the scene. Smith could make nearly any track swing (his transformation of the stately march "When Johnny Come Marching Home," featured here, is a case in point), and his sense of taste, balance, and mood is unerring.
The laid-in-the-cut blues of "All Day Long," which features fine work from alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson and guitarist Kenny Burrell (not to mention subtle brushwork from drummer Art Blakey), keeps things cool, while "The Jumpin' Blues," played here with a restrained intensity, is classic, uptempo bop. "Back at the Chicken Shack," the title cut from one of Smith's finest albums, features excellent solos from Burrell and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, while Smith piles on stacks of tasty Hammond licks. Though not comprehensive, this well-selected compilation is a great way for the uninitiated to sample this soul-jazz giant.