Jimmy Smith, Back At The Chicken Shack

Kevin Whitehead

By Kevin Whitehead

on 05.18.11 in Reviews

Back At The Chicken Shack

Jimmy Smith
Riding the

By 1960, "soul jazz" was a big trend — music to eat greens and cornbread by — and nobody rode the wave like organist Jimmy Smith. More than anyone, he made the Hammond B3 into a jazz institution, bringing a little church feeling to the clubs. He could burn on that double-keyboard console, or cook over a low flame, as on Back at the Chicken Shack, for a quartet fronted by tenor sax bleater Stanley Turrentine, on his first organ date. (There'd be many more.) Turrentine whip-cracks every line-ending note on the melody of "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." He and Smith can coax the blues out of any tune; ditto guitarist Kenny Burrell, digging into the usually chipper "On the Sunny Side of the Street," subdued to a slow trot. There are straight blues too, like the insistently leisurely title track pinned to drummer Donald Bailey's quiet shuffle. Deft as Smith's keyboard work is, you could overlook what his right foot's up to: pumping out rolling bass lines that grease the action. "Messy Bessie"'s groove could make a rotisserie chicken testify.