on 18 February 2009
This is a must-have for anyone who appreciates the development of jazz. A big-band sound featuring excellent musicians, including Kenny Burrell on guitar and Grady Tate on drums, arranged and conducted by Lalo Schifrin releases Jimmy Smith to explode with his dynamic Hammond organ through film theme tunes ("Joy House", "The Carpetbaggers")and arrangements of such classics as "St.Louis Blues" - I bet you've never heard it played like this - "Basin Street Blues" and "Blues In The Night". At times pleading and wailing, then driving and demanding but always dynamic Jimmy Smith gives everything and leaves you wanting more. The clincher is the title track, which just has to be the coolest piece of playing I've ever heard and surely inspired many keyboard players with it's funky sound. Hey and the cover is pretty damned cool too !
on 19 December 2010
Just to add one more endorsement to reviewers' comments above, this album's sixties grooviness goes beyond the three cuts from THE LOVE CAGE soundtrack. Jimmy Smith and Lalo Schifrin's arrangement here of the main theme/titles from THE CARPETBAGGERS (side 1, band 4) is perhaps better known by UK TV viewers as the theme from BBC2 TV's long-running weekly show on finance and economic news, THE MONEY PROGRAMME.
on 11 December 2012
I struggle to find the words to describe what an amazing record this is. Like '1827grumpy' above, I first heard of it and bought an LP back in the early '60s soon after I started work in an ad studio. I loved all the pop music around at the time, including Beatles, Stones, Who, Beach Boys - but this was something so extraordinarily powerful, brilliant and majestic, I was completely bowled over.
Jimmy Smith's virtuoso playing is the rippling pulse of this music, but the incredible richness, colour, depth and punch that Lalo Schifrin summons from his orchestra? band? is something awesome, and quite unlike any other music I have heard. The whole ensemble generates such tremendous excitement and joyous swing, and it never fails to deliver that explosive power to my ears even after all these years.
Some of the personnel under Schifrin's baton - Thad Jones, Marky Markowitz, Snooky Young, Jimmy Cleveland, Jimmy Buffington, Bill Correa, Don Butterfield, Kenny Burrell, etc, etc., each has a voice and a telling part to play, thanks to LS's truly stunning arrangements, with for me the greatest drummer ever - Grady Tate - weaving it all together with his intricate, clever rhythms and driving beat.
The music is blues based, with some familiar work-horses - Basin Street, St. Louis, Blues in the Night - and a new one 'Delon's Blues' written by Smith, together with some sparkling contemporary themes - The Cat, Joy House, Carpetbaggers and Chicago Serenade.
Even after all these years this is still knock-out and unique music.
As an extra treat - I'm sure Verve must have recognised how special this recording is and have honoured it with a very beautifully packaged CD.
Truly something to treasure.
on 11 November 2011
Jimmy Smith was a hugely influential and successful musician in the 60's and 70's and completely re-wrote the rule book for jazz organ players. He was, if anything, possibly over-hyped in his heyday,but he could really generate some almighty powerful swing from his chosen instrument.Provided with massively supportive big band backings, Smith swings like crazy through some very powerful arrangements on this CD, which certainly has stood up well over the passage of time,and is well worth the modest investment needed to acquire it.
on 20 December 2013
Should have bought this 50 years ago!
Bought Monster in the 60's, which has remained one of my favourites ever since, but never explored Jimmy Smith any further until now, when I find my musical tastes have gone full cycle.
The Cat has some great tracks which you can either become involved with or leave as background. Which ever way, you have to wonder at and admire Jimmy Smith's virtuosity on the Hammond organ. This album is as relevant now as it was back in 64.