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Livin It Up Original recording remastered, Import

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, Import, December 27, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Japanese Hi-Bit Digital Remaster.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 27, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Import
  • Label: Universal/Polygram
  • ASIN: B00000891R
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #918,006 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Giovanni on July 31, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Jimmy Smith is the ruler of the Hammond organ, plain and simple. For this particular outing, Verve paired Jimmy with long time collaborator and under-appreciated band leader Oliver Nelson. They grabbed a handful of songs of the day and made them their own. GO AWAY LITTLE GIRL, the heartfelt vocalized plea of Steve Lawrence, takes on a new meaning here under Jimmy's controlled swinging. The sumptuous Latin-tinged (written by guitarist extraordinaire Luis Bonfa) THE GENTLE RAIN comes across like the steam drifting up off the hot summer pavement when gentle rain falls on it. Absolutely great. A spirited reading of the classic Broadway tune THIS NEARLY WAS MINE is handled with class here by Jimmy and Oliver and the band. Very interesting treatment of this standard. Jimmy even gives us a listen to his vocal skills on the funky BIG BOSS MAN, and gives us a reading of a tune EVERYONE knows, the theme from MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. But the standout here is Jimmy and Oliver's reading of the theme from the VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. It is at once sad, yet driving, almost pleading. The arrangement is flawless here, framing Jimmy's every nuance and makes for one of the best versions of this song EVER. It's true that Verve may have gone to the well too many times with some of its artists when it came to collections like this of hits of the day (many think Verve superstar and Jimmy Smith collaborator Wes Montgomery sold out too when he did some of his string/band sessions with arranger/conductor great Don Sebesky; I don't) personally, this is one of my favorite albums. And Jimmy certainly looks like he's living up to the title of this album on the great album cover! Get it and enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Terje Biringvad on August 8, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The Verve years (1963 - 73) was very productive and successful for Jimmy Smith with many best-selling albums. The secret formula was using a big band to play the contemporary melodies with great arrangements by Oliver Nelson and Lalo Schifrin, and Smith to fill in with brilliant and intelligent organ solos. "Livin' It Up" from '68 was no exception from this formula that started with the "Bashin'" album (recorded '62, released `63), had it's peak on popularity with the excellent "The Cat" album ('64). Even string orchestra is added to some of the arrangements on "Livin' It Up" to make a sweet and gentle sound (too sweet?) on an overall "middle of the road" album. But there are some highlight to remember from this album - the 1960's cartoon song "Mission Impossible" is played in a stunning arrangement by Oliver Nelson where Smith's Hammond B3 commands the big band to it's limits and on the best track on this album - Refractions - Smiths makes a power demonstration playing one of his most memorable solos in his big band period. Smith is a master of ballads, so the beautiful bossa ballad "Gentle Rain" is treated with respect by Smith with less-than-usual organ runs and chops. The not listed rhythm section is of the highest quality along with the Oliver Nelson hand picked big band. Not among the greatest big band albums on Verve by Smith, "Livin' It Up" still deserves to be in any serious collection. "Livin' It Up" on CD is now out-of-print, so Verve has made this album available through iTunes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D.R.L. on February 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
~ When Jimmy Smith moved from Blue Note to Verve in the 1960's the nature of his recordings changed in several ways. One way they changed is that he was often backed by a big band; another way they changed is that he was often asked to record jazz versions of currently popular songs. The music on this CD clearly demonstrates both of these points. However, regardless of the material and regardless of the setting, Jimmy Smith was still Jimmy Smith = funky, blues-drenched, soulful. If one is old enough to remember these songs as popular music hits, then you may think of this as "Jimmy plays pop". However, if you are younger than that or simply ignore the association to their pop-music origins, then you will appreciate these recordings for what they are = funky Jimmy Smith.
~ "Livin' It Up!", recorded 13 & 14 May 1968, features Smith backed by Oliver Nelson's big band. The program includes movie themes like "Valley of the Dolls" and "Mission: Impossible", popular songs like Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Go Away Little Girl," soothing ballads like Antonio Carlos Jobim's "The Gentle Rain," and Jimmy's instantly recognized gravel voice singing "Big Boss Man" (which Smith co-wrote with the great blues artist Willie Dixon).
~ Personnel on "Livin' It Up!" includes Howard Roberts (guitar), Tom Scott & Plas Johnson (saxophones), Conte Candoli (trumpet), Billy Byers & Ernie Tack (trombone), Ray Brown (bass), Carol Kaye (electric bass), and Larry Bunker (percussion). A 14-piece string orchestra is added on several tracks.
~ While "Livin' It Up!" does not quite measure up to some of the other outstanding Smith-Nelson collaborations, it is still a very good recording.
~ Recommended.
~ If you are looking for a bargain, "Livin' It Up!" can be obtained as one half of the twofer CD Respect / Livin It Up - which is also recommended.
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