JIMMY SMITH — Root Down (review)

JIMMY SMITH — Root Down album cover Live album · 1972 · Soul Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
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.
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more than 2 years ago
Yeah, it was actually the first Jimmy Smith album I was given and it really, really, really impressed me - he just seemed so inventive and played with great energy here. A big contrast to his other albums (as you noted in your review) and I do love them too - but this one has a special place in my mind because it's the first of his I heard - which can sometimes be the way, no matter which album of an artists' you start with.

I think that's part of why I love HH's 'Head Hunters' and 'Empyrean Isles' so much because they were the first two I got

js wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Fun album eh?

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