Jimmy Smith was born as James Oscar Smith in Norristown, Pennsylvania, in
1928. both his parents played piano. At 9, he took the first prize on the
Major Bowes Amateur Hour radio show, playing boogie woogie piano. At 12, he
was performing with his father in the Philadelphia area in a hot song and
dance act. After some time spent in the Navy, Jimmy Smith used the GI Bill to
study bass at the Hamilton School, then piano and theory at the Orenstein
School of Music. While moonlighting as a member of Don Gardener's Sonotones,
Jimmy Smith began playing the organ, on which he became a self-taught master.
In 1956, he made his New York debut at Cafe Bohemia, followed by gigs at Birdland and a memorable appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957.
Jimmy Smith made his recording debut playing with Kenny Burrell on a Blue Note
date that led to his first album as a bandleader: A New Sound...A New
Star...Jimmy Smith At The Organ Volume 1. It was followed by albums
including The Sermon and Back At The Chicken Shack. In the mid
1960s, Jimmy Smith signed to Verve, recording Walk On The Wild Side, Respect
and, together with Wes Montgomery, The Dynamic Duo. In the 1970s, he
broke with Verve, but returned to the label in 1994.
Dot Com Blues
Dot Com Blues is Jimmy Smith's first
recording in over five years. The Hammond B3 organ master performs with the
help of notable special guests. Dot Com Blues ranges from the Duke
Ellington ballad Mood Indigo to intimate quartet numbers, fat horn
section pieces and five stellar vocal numbers. Etta James sings Willie Dixon's
classic I Just Wanna Make Love to You, Dr. John sings and plays piano
on his own Only In It for the Money and Keb Mo shines with his vocals
in the blues ballad Over and Over. The highlight of the album is Strut
by and with Taj Mahal. His guitar playing and above all his vocal contribution
is excellent. Mr. Johnson is a great instrumental featuring Herman
Riley and Joe Sublette on tenor saxophone. The last tune, Tuition Blues,
with its Church music feeling is notable too. Three O'Clock Blues
features B. B. King, his vocals and the driving rhythm make at a worthy
contribution. Among the weaker compositions is the title song, the
instrumental Dot Com Blues. Overall, a nice album with one outstanding
performance, Strut with Taj Mahal.