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Blue Smith


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Audio CD, April 11, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

How do you follow up a lovely and intimate album of Ellington and Strayhorn ballads? If you're Scottish tenor saxist Tommy Smith, you unleash this gritty, brash, and groove-heavy monster. Backed by a stellar rhythm section featuring guitarist John Scofield, bassist James Genus, and drummer Clarence Penn, Smith sinks deep in the pocket at times and searches inquisitively and aggressively at others. Even at his most explorative, he never seems rash or unfocused; on the contrary, he always seems to know exactly what he's doing with each cascading flurry. The fierce, Coltrane-like calisthenics he performs on "Touch Your Toes" soon give way to the sumptuously slow-grinding "Blacken' Blue," in which he savors each note as if he were sucking on a rib tip. On the surface, this often raucous record has little in common with an album of Ellington ballads. But there are telling similarities, most notably the confidence and certainty with which Smith plays and the supreme importance that he places on his full-bodied tone. One can only hope that his decision to live across the pond doesn't keep him from receiving the recognition he's earned. --Marc Greilsamer

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. El Nino 5:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Hubba Hubba 7:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Rain Dance 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Dr. Sco 8:48Album Only
listen  5. Touch Your Toes 5:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Amazing Grace 1:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Blacken' Blue 8:44Album Only
listen  8. The Blues Blew Blue 5:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Eany Meany Miny Mo 8:28Album Only
listen10. Miracle 1:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Dr. Smith 5:01$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 11, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: April 11, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Linn
  • ASIN: B0000300H7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,317 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Dorward on March 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
There was a brief period in the early 1990s when record-labels like Blue Note & Verve were turning to England for new signings: players like Stan Tracey, Guy Barker, Andy Sheppard & the Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith found themselves with contracts. Predictably enough the labels dropped them just about as quickly--Smith's now found on the Linn label (which boasts on each CD: "THIS CD SOUNDS _EVEN_ BETTER THROUGH A LINN CD PLAYER"). It's a great shame that Blue Note didn't stay the course: this album is first-rate, & deserves a wider audience.
Smith has assembled here a tough & professional New York band: John Scofield on guitar, James Genus on bass, Clarence Penn on drums. The basic territory is a middle-ground between the traditional saxophone artistry of Coltrane & Rollins and hot blues & funk. That's an area that's fairly well-explored in modern jazz, & the presence of Scofield makes comparisons with his 1980s/early 1990s band with Joe Lovano inevitable. What's remarkable is that Smith is by no means disgraced by the comparison. He's not as idiosyncratic a player as Lovano, but he's certainly got his own sound & approach. The compositions here aren't fancy but are carefully crafted, & give all the musicians solid launching-pads. There's real excitement in tracks like "The Blues Blew Blue" (a slow blues that then breaks into a breakneck chain of solos separated by stop-time episodes) or "Hubba Hubba" (with Scofield's fine choked guitar riffing). Medium-tempo pieces like "Eany Meany Miny Mo" work a pleasingly relaxed groove (until it builds at the end to a furious Coltranesque climax...), & Smith even tosses in a brief, gentle acapella reading of "Amazing Grace".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SpondyBlondie on June 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
A master of mood and lyricism Mr Smith is a star saxophonist. This album features blues inspired tracks which are inspired and distinctive and are some of the most exciting and inventive I have heard to date. A new artist to me and an excellent example to discover him in.
A definite recommendation!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is a challenging and rewarding album! I love the "classic" 1940s and 50s small group jazz and was looking for something modern to fit these tastes. This album is not anywhere near what I was looking for, but it is excellent, high quality music. The two solo saxophone numbers (Amazing Grace and Miracle) are worth the price of the CD alone! They are beautifully played. As Amazon said, this is definitely a groove heavy jazz record. Luckily, the album avoids the twin pitfalls of becoming a pop/jazz or "modern" jazz album. I had not heard of Tommy Smith before I bought this album, but I will definitely investigate his music further.
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By Eric P. Walentowicz on December 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Make no mistake, Tommy Smith is one of the underrated "Lions" to watch. On the same level as (but for different reasons) as Rick Margitza (Harmony Boy), David Mann (Sheer Talent), Joshua Redman (New Rollins re: melodic development) Bob Malach (color and intensity) and Dino Govoni (The new Avante Garde).
This is NOW! This is "new Sco" in all his greatness (Not 80's-mid 90's) and is perfect compliment to Tommy Smith, of course. Look Out...get passed the first cut..and listen 3 times!
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By Eric P. Walentowicz on December 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Make no mistake. Tommy Smith is one of the underrated "Lions" to watch. On the same level as (but for different reasons) as Rick Margitza (Harmony Boy), David Mann (Sheer Talent), Joshua Redman (New Rollins re: melodic development) and Bob Malach (color and intensity)! This is NOW!
This is "new Sco" in all his greatness (Not 80's-mid 90's) and is perfect compliment to Tommy Smith, of course. Look Out...get passed the first cut..and listen 3 times!
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