Like his debut, Smithville is another set of thoroughly winning straight-ahead bop from the underappreciated trumpeter Louis Smith. Stylistically, there are no surprises here -- this is mainstream bop and hard bop, comprised of original and contemporary bop numbers, as well as standards ("There'll Never Be Another You," "Embraceable You") -- but since the music is performed so well, it doesn't matter. There is genuine passion to this music, not only from Smith, but also from pianist Sonny Clark, tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor. It's a first-rate hard bop set that deserves wider distribution than it has received.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine