Jimmy Smith

Prayer Meetin'

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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett

Playing piano-style single-note lines on his Hammond B-3 organ, Jimmy Smith revolutionized the use of the instrument in a jazz combo setting in the mid-'50s and early '60s, and arguably his best albums for Blue Note during this period were the ones he did with tenor sax player Stanley Turrentine. Recorded on February 8, 1963, at Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey, and featuring Quentin Warren on guitar and Donald Bailey on drums in addition to Smith and Turrentine, Prayer Meetin' is a delight from start to finish. Forming a perfect closure to Smith's trio of albums with Turrentine (Midnight Special and Back at the Chicken Shack were both released in 1960), Prayer Meetin' was the last of four albums Smith recorded in a week to finish off his Blue Note contract before leaving for Verve. The blues roots are obvious here, and the Smith-penned title track might even be called jazz-gospel, but the single most striking cut is a version of Ivory Joe Hunter's "I Almost Lost My Mind," with both Smith and Turrentine building wonderful solos, suggesting new pathways for organ and sax as complementary instruments.

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