Designed to appeal to hip-hop and acid jazz fans, not jazz purists, Talkin' Verve: Roots of Acid Jazz collects 14 tracks Jimmy Smith cut for Verve during the late '60s. Comprised of pop covers and funky workouts, the music is "jazzy," not jazz -- there's little improvisation on the record, but there is a lot of hot vamping, with Smith creating dense, funky chord clusters and bluesy leads. It's music that is devoted to the groove, and while a few of these cuts fall flat -- "Ode to Billie Joe" has no funk in it, no matter how hard you try -- but for the most part Talkin' Verve is soulful fun. Not much of this sounds like acid jazz, especially since the rhythms are a little stiff, but it's enjoyable lite funk, and it's more palatable in the compilation than it is on their original albums.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine