Jimmy Smith

Eighth Wonder of the World

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Jimmy Smith recorded a great deal of music in his early career, and this compilation of tracks from 1956-1959 could hardly have jammed more sounds onto one CD, falling just three seconds short of the 80-minute mark. Whether this is intended as a best-of for the period isn't clear, with liner notes that give a basic overview of Smith's origins, but no clue as to the anthology's driving concept. It does, however, include full credits for recording dates and personnel, and due to its length serves as a reasonable introduction to his early work. This was the time in which Smith established himself as an exciting new talent in the jazz world with his Hammond B-3 organ, and the tracks spotlight his use of the instrument on an assortment of ballads, standards, and more uptempo groovers. Guitarist Kenny Burrell and drummer Art Blakey are the most notable of the numerous accompanists, though they're not on the majority of the selections by any means. It's perhaps a little too much on the sedate side for those looking for more of the intensity he brought to his more fiery material, and there's little here that could be considered hard to find, other than perhaps the 7" single edits of "After Hours" and "The Sermon."