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Groovin' at Smalls' Paradise Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, Live

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, September 17, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

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These recordings from 1957 are among the most momentous to appear in the Rudy Van Gelder series, marking the first American appearance on CD of these early live recordings and adding four previously unreleased tracks. Accompanied by his regular band of guitarist Eddie McFadden and drummer Donald Bailey, Smith is an extraordinary musical presence, combining the energy of a big band and a sanctified congregation as he serves up kinetic versions of pop songs, jazz standards, and blues. Among the new additions are a scintillating version of Smith's own up-tempo blues feature "The Champ," a marvel of keyboard technique, and a treatment of "Walkin'" that could define the idea of swing. Smith wasn't just using the organ as a jazz instrument, he was creating a new idiom that fused elements of modern jazz and R&B. The extended tunes also highlight a neglected jazz-blues talent in McFadden. --Stuart Broomer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 17, 1999)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, Live
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • ASIN: B00000K4GL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,507 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This live performance was captured when Jimmy Smith was truly at the peak of his creative powers. Recorded on November 15, 1957 Smith is joined by his working group of Eddie McFadden on guitar, and Donald Bailey on drums. The playing is truly inspired by all. Smith gets to his absolute white hottest on the cuts "Walkin'", "The Champ", and "After Hours", the latter being a low down blues in which Smith really displays what would become trademarks: lightning right hand runs, as well as his patented trilling. There are some great ballads on the collection, notably "Laura" in which Jimmy stuns the listener with an incredibly lengthy classical tinged cadenza to bring the tune to a thrilling climax. Eddie McFadden is showcased on "Indiana", a tune which displays a talent truly underrated. Also notable is that this is the first album, to showcase a new stop setting on Jimmy's B-3, different than his more high pitched whistle like tone on his earlier works. The music here is simply incredible, and in beautiful 24 bit sound by Rudy Van Gelder. A classic album that in it's complete form is one of the best he ever cut. This was an incredibly active period for Jimmy, and coincedentally Jimmy's group went in to the studio 5 days later for another recording session
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Format: Audio CD
Jimmy Smith and company made jazz history the night of November 15, 1957. This freewheeling live set from the legendary Small's Paradise nightclub anticipates just about every twist and turn Hammond B-3 and indeed almost all other electronic keyboard playing would take up to the present day.
This classic recording represents Smith at his early best, his unique artistry arguably in its purest and most unfettered form. Suffice it to say that this is all beef and no tofu, with fierce and furious renditions of standards like "Indiana," flavorful blues workouts in "Walkin'" and "After Hours," and rich gospel-tinged treatments of "Laura" and "My Funny Valentine." Highlights also include Jimmy's quirky extended introductory vamps to many tunes. His bandmates are certainly no slouches either, with guitarist McFadden in particular contributing quicksilver licks steeped in bebop.
Groovin' at Small's Paradise is a non-stop rocket blast of a recording, guaranteed to energize you better than quaffing a dozen bottles of Jolt Cola. It's well worth the extra cash, too--you get the equivalent of 3 LPs worth of music, and the clarity of the remastering of these Van Gelder special editions is superb.
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Format: Audio CD
There are so few live recordings of Jimmy Smith and he truly shows off very well live... thing is, he shows off well in the studio, so you know live has got to be even better. This recording is a must have for anyone into Jimmy Smith and I might make it a first recommendation for anyone just being introduced to him. I have over 40 titles by him and this new release made me very happy.
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Format: Audio CD
I just got this CD set!!! It is a live club date recording by the Alfred Lion, and it's smokin'!!!! Nearly 16 minutes up-tempo blowing on the tune "Indiana" only!!! This is true vintage Jimmy Smith from 1957!!! Small's Paradise's in Harlem, and there is a wonderful historical, cultural background on the club by Leonard Feathers that's worth the cost of the CDs. The music, of course, is priceless!!! If you are fan of the Hammond B3, buy this CD set!
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Format: Audio CD
Jimmy Smith is one of those Musicians that you have to hit Rewind twice to Believe what you just heard first and then the 2nd time to feel the soul of his Organ again.his Playing is Incredible in the studio but Live it's Fantastic.Walkin' is tight as is Indiana&the Champ.The Music Never lets up&it's very Soulful.this is a Must.He is one of the Baddest Organ Players ever.also in General one of the Baddest Musicians ever.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have suggested, if you are a fan of jazz organ, you're going to love this 1957 live set, a generous two discs of Jimmy Smith going to town on the keyboards. He frequently lets loose with machine gun-like bursts of riffs on the organ, so fast and furious that the listener can't help but marvel.

But as wonderful and impressive as the funky, upbeat numbers are, the slower tunes don't captivate me nearly as much. At least one other reviewer suggested that there's no need to re-hash old standards like "My Funny Valentine" and "It's Only A Paper Moon," and I'd certainly agree with that idea, but then again you have to remember that these shows at Smalls Paradise were performed in 1957, back when those tunes had not been done to death, so I can forgive him for those weaker numbers. In addition to Smith's deft organ playing I also am very impressed with the guitar playing of Eddie McFadden. Some guitar licks worthy of Grant Green.

Taken as a whole, this is a vibrant, inspired performance. Jimmy's flying fingers get so heated up I wouldn't be shocked if someone had spotted flames on the keyboard. Truly, this stuff sizzles! I'm thrilled to finally have it on CD. If you're a Jimmy Smith fan, I think you'll like this one a lot.
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