QUINCY JONES — Smackwater Jack (review)

QUINCY JONES — Smackwater Jack album cover Album · 1971 · Jazz Related RnB Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
js
In the late 50s Quincy Jones was a big hit as one of the new leaders in jazz big band, as well as a very influential orchestral arranger in any style of music. The 60s saw Quincy move more into soundtrack work. As the early 70s rolled up, Jones was still scoring soundtracks, but he also began to release his own albums again, but they were no longer purely big band affairs anymore. Jones is a one hundred percent jazz musician for sure, but he also excels at ambitious art pop and RnB. On “Smackwater Jack”, Quincy rolled all those influences together and produced an album with a mix of 70s and 60s sensibilities. Seventies because of the multi-sectioned art pop arrangements that mirror the progressive rock and RnB of that era and the very modern funk and RnB beats that drive the solo sections. The album mirrors the 60s in its glitzy big band arrangements and Quincy’s ongoing sense of 60s suburban kitsch hipness of the Johnny Carson/Playboy/Vegas/ era.

“Smackwater Jack” is basically a big band album disguised as a pop album. This formula will work well for Jones a few years later when he starts doing the same thing for Michael Jackson. The big band on “Jack” is all-star affair, some of the soloists include, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Milt Jackson, Toots Thielman, Jim Hall and Eric Gayle. You can expect plenty of top notch and inspired solos on all these tracks. Unfortunately Quincy sings on two songs, and he’s not a great singer. Also, the theme from the first Bill Cosby show features Bill himself with some ‘amusing’ vocalizing that probably seemed funnier in the past. Other songs on the album also center around TV themes, plus there are few covers of pop and RnB hits too. One album highlight is the lengthy arrangement of “Whats Going On” that features Valerie Simpson on vocals. Because of its unique combination of rough street smart rhythms and glitzy big band pop kitsch, “Smackwater Jack” rates high with crate diggers and exotica collectors, but it also contains plenty of high quality energetic big band RnB/jazz.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Murmur Eclectic Fusion
DAKHLA BRASS
Buy this album from MMA partners
In The Garden Post Bop
GÁBOR JUHÁSZ
Buy this album from MMA partners
Mi Mundo Afro-Cuban Jazz
BRENDA NAVARETTE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Trio 21st Century Modern
KEVIN SUN
Buy this album from MMA partners
Frank & Ruth Fusion
MARCO PACASSONI
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

Juha´sz Ga´bor Quartet -01- Hinta
GÁBOR JUHÁSZ
js· 5 hours ago
Taita Bilongo
BRENDA NAVARETTE
js· 10 hours ago
Peaches en Regalia
MARCO PACASSONI
js· 11 hours ago
Free as the Birds
JAY PHELPS
js· 13 hours ago
Friends
BRAD MEHLDAU
js· 1 day ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us