JIMMY SMITH — Root Down

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JIMMY SMITH - Root Down cover
4.47 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews
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Live album · 1972

Filed under Soul Jazz
By JIMMY SMITH

Tracklist

A1 Sagg Shootin' His Arrow 7:10
A2 For Everyone Under The Sun 5:55
A3 After Hours 7:36
B1 Root Down (And Get It) 7:40
B2 Let's Stay Together 6:12
B3 Slow Down Sagg 6:30

Line-up/Musicians

Jimmy Smith / organ
Steve Williams / harmonica
Arthur Adams / guitar
Wilton Felder / bass
Buck Clarke / percussion
Paul Humphrey / drums

About this release

Verve Records ‎– V6-8806

Recorded February 8, 1972, in Los Angeles

Reissued as Verve International cat 134522 (1999) and Verve cat 559805 (2000) with extra tracks:
7. Root Down and Get It (alternate take) and unedited versions of the original 1972 tracks:
1. Sagg Shootin His Arrow
4. Root Down (and Get it)
6. Slow Down Sagg

Thanks to EntertheLemming, EZ Money, snobb for the updates

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JIMMY SMITH ROOT DOWN reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

dreadpirateroberts
Go Jimmy! This is one of my all-time favourite live albums, and if you’re a fan who doesn’t own this one, then get the Verve reissue with its unedited tracks, it’s well worth it. ‘Root Down’ is a really energetic record that just storms along. Jimmy Smith is like a wizard and while his Hammond is the centrepiece throughout, he’s really egged on by the rest of the players, especially Humphrey’s kit and the guitar of Arthur Adams – which is a little more rock-influenced than you might expect from a Jimmy Smith record. In fact, this album really surprised me when I first heard it and just one listen to the power of ‘Sagg Shootin' His Arrow’ and I was ready for more.

While Smith gets more soulful and bluesy on ‘For Everyone Under the Sun’ or ‘After Hours’ and the Al Green cover, ‘Let’s Stay Together’ everyone seems inspired to keep wowing the audience. In fact, despite the fantastic performances on the title track and ‘Sagg Shootin’ His Arrow’ this version of the Green hit is just as enjoyable, with its touches of percussion, loving treatment of the melody and energetic soloing. ‘Root Down (And Get It)’ is another highlight and showcase for Jimmy’s more aggressive playing, like the closer, the hard funk fusion of ‘Slow Down Sagg.’

When comparing this album to the others in his discography, there’s a sense of it being a little special due to how different it is, and that sums up my feelings pretty well. While his soulful touch is still present, this one also shows a more fiery side to Smith’s playing too. Very highly recommended for Jimmy Smith and organ fans. And for the curious too.
js
‘Root Down’ is not your typical Jimmy Smith album. Recorded in the early 70s when psychedelic jazz rock was peaking, Smith and his crew turn in a very high energy live set that occasionally borders on modern fusion rather than the laid back swing-blues that Jimmy is usually known for. A lot of credit for the more aggressive approach on here goes to the hyper rhythm section of Paul Humphrey on drums and Buck Clarke on percussion, both had been working with modern fusion artists at this time. Guitarist Arthur Adams also gives the band a little more wah-wah and distortion than you would hear on a classic Jimmy Smith Blue Note recording. Jimmy utilizes more modern chord progressions and structures on these tunes, his stacked suspended 4th chords moving in chromatic progressions at the turnarounds sound more like Larry Young or Keith Emerson than the guy who brought us 'Back at the Chicken Shack'.

Smith’s playing is on fire and his phrasing and rhythms are very tight as he takes us through three high-octane funk numbers, two soul hits and one classic Jimmy Smith slow down blues called ‘After Hours’. If you are a Jimmy Smith fan, you must check out this uncharacteristically modern and kinetic set of live tunes.

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