Back At The Chicken Shack
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As far as groovin', bluesy B3 jazz, you really can't do better than this album. Donald Bailey has a heavy, booting swing and Jimmy Smith's chunky basslines propel the music along. Kenny Burrell's playing is beautiful here -- very subtle and tasteful, the yin to Jimmy Smith's powerful organ yang. And as far as I'm concerned, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine is lifted to deity status by his playing on this session. Saxophone playing doesn't get any more soulful and meaty than this.
The title track is just a blues, but what a blues it is. Jimmy digs in with the riff, Kenny plays one of his marvelous, low-key solos, and then Turrentine makes history with an absolutely mind-boggling huffin' and puffin' solo. Even the standards on this CD (classic interpretations of "When I Grow too Old to Dream" and "On the Sunny Side of the Street") sound bluesy. And despite the fact that the title track is the most famous piece here, I think "Messy Bessie" is the best here. Judging by the song, she must be a fun girl to hang around.
If you like this album, get its twin (recorded the same day), Midnight Special. Other great Jimmy Smith albums are Crazy! Baby, the Sermon, and Cool Blues. But I don't think any of them are as awesome as whatever the hell is going on Back at the Chicken Shack.
I don't know which track is best because they're all stunning but to name a few, maybe "Minor Chant" by Stanley Turrentine (who brilliantly plays the sax throughout the album), stands out a little... not by much though. "When I grow too old to dream": what a sweet melody!... Messy Bessie (by Jimmy) is so good, I would have appreciated a finale instead of the fade-out we got (but that's okay). And technically, the 1960's Blue Note pure, clear, and no-fuss analog recording sounds flawless.
If you're jaded with the traditional organ-drums-guitar formation, check this out because tenor saxophone truly adds a uniquely elegant and amazingly powerful dimension to Jimmy's already great sound! This will put a smile on your face and make your head bounce!
I probably have most of Smith's recorded works, I have a top 200 album collection,no vinyl, just CD, and Chicken Shack and Midnight Special,the RVG remasters, both reside there.I have high end and custom CD players and at my age I long ago gave my vinyl to a relative, that has a ton of it. I also have the original 1987? CD's but prefer the RVG reissues.
Most all of the artists Rudy Van Gelder recorded, wanted Rudy to record them. I lived in the East Village in the 60's and early 70's.And spent alot of time at the "Vangard" and all the other West Village Venues and would get to "Slug's on the East Side",which was a great venue. I know what the music sounded like live, and the RVG series overall captures the sound the best. I have most of the RVG series and a few of Dual Disc SACD issues. At this point I am going to purchase one more SACD,probably "Chicken Shack", and decide If I will buy anymore. So far my feeling is the people that do the SACD transfers on some of this are not the best.
I have lived my life with the blues and jazz, have shared a drink with Missisippi John Hurt and used to have a photo of Horace Silver? holding my son.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most reviewed CDs ever made. Not sure I have anything else to add, other than it should be a well worn disc in any listeners collection. Love every cut.Published 18 days ago by Brian Woodbridge
As Jimmy Smith gratefully entered the 1960’s as thoroughly creative and vibrant
as ever, he took on a more captivating note in his music and equal perfection when... Read more
One of the best music i have listened to lately. Great productPublished 13 months ago by Adegboyega A. Oyemade
Product was delivered in good shape and the CD is one of my recent favorites.Published 16 months ago by Hattie Severns