365 Days of Album Recommendations – Jan 27

Jimmy Smith – Back at the Chicken Shack

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That the name Jimmy Smith is synonymous with the Hammond organ is a truism on par with “water is wet,” but uttering the statement, as sweeping (and correct!) as it is, nonetheless fails to do justice to just how fucking cool this album is.

This is quite simply the sound of what bein’ cool is. I don’t care who you are or what you do, if you don’t sound like this, you’re not cool.

The lineup is, of course, incredible. Kenny Burrell on guitar, and the great Stanley Turrentine, at this point still a very new name, on the tenor. And, Donald Bailey on drums, who—in addition down to holding down SO many great Jimmy Smith recordings—also played drums on one of the great, but largely unknown, jazz albums of all time, The Peace-Maker by Harold Land.

But back to how cool this album is. Not Birth of the Cool cool, mind you. But cool as in, badass. As in, “dang, that shit was cool” cool.

There’s just swing and style all over this music. And honestly, it’s way hipper than the whole chicken shack theme would lead you to believe.

Recommended track to start with: Minor Chant

It’s actually a Turrentine composition, but the feel is just ridiculous. When  Ivie Anderson declared on behalf of Duke & Co. that it didn’t mean a thing if it didn’t have that swing, she needn’t have worried about this song. Or this album. Or Jimmy Smith.


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