2 LP on 1 CD
## 1-10 "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Verve, 1964 (2.5*)
Big band. Jimmy Smith with Oliver Nelson and his orchestra. Recording Jan 20,21 & 27 1964 in New York
All Music Guide
## 11-18 "Plays Pretty Just for You" Blue Note 1957 (3*)
Recording May 8, 1957 at Van Gelder Studio, New Jersey
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
If you are one of the increasing legions of presold Jimmy Smith fans - one of those convulsed by his first album, converted by his second and convinced by his third-there is no need to inform you that this is the young man who gave new modern jazz dimensions to the Hammond organ. There is a need, though, to advise you in advance that in this new set Jimmy has something to offer that is enticingly different from anything preceding it in his consistently successful series of Blue Note LPs.
The title tells the story - "Jimmy Smith Plays Pretty Just For You." In this LP, instead of an assortment of original and standard instrumentals, Jimmy has chosen for his vehicles a set of melodies that were all, at one time or another, familiar to the great American public.
The Nearness Of You's a Hoagy Carmichael melody first published in 1939. The 29 versions in my collection have a scope that indicates the breadth of its appeal, to everyone from Louis Armstrong to Bud Shank. After an introduction that employs an attractive pedal-point effect, Jimmy moves into a slow and tonally interesting treatment of the melody. Throughout this album, incidentally, you will notice how expertly he manages to vary the moods, through the use of certain stops and through variation between chordal and horizontal styles. There is also on this one a guitar solo by Eddie McFadden, who joined the Smith Trio in January of 1957 and whom some of you no doubt met on A Date With Jimmy Smith (Blue Note 1947,1948).
The Jitterbug Waltz was composed by Fats Waller and recorded on his penultimate session for Victor in March 1942; since then it has been seized spontaneously by numerous other jazz artists, though its original success was limited and, unlike the other items in this set, it never became a big popular song hit. Basically the tune, in descending clusters of thirds, does not swing and depends entirely on its melodic and harmonic charm; however, Jimmy plays it with more dynamic contrast than did Fats himself on the opening chorus and offers some swinging variations on the melody in his second. Drummer Donald Bailey maintains a four-four technique for the most part; as a result there is an accent on 1 and 3 in the odd-numbered measures and on 2 in the even-numbered measures.
East of the Sun (West of the Moon) is another melody that has been in constant jazz demand. Its lovely melody was composed by Brooks Bowman, who died tragically young in 1937 at the age of 24; originally it was in one of the shows for which he wrote the music at Princeton, in 1935. Jimmy takes it at medium-bright tempo, belting out the melody first in chords, syncopating gaily in the second chorus with some interesting wire-brush double accents on the first beat of each measure. At the fourth chorus McFadden takes over for a couple before Jimmy brings back the melody. This track is a fine example of Jimmy's and Eddie's ability to respect the original melodic and or harmonic basis while investing the performance with the unmistakable stamp of their own personalities.
Autumn in New York (1934) is one of the many popular hits written by Vladimir Dukelsky (Vernon Duke), whose dual life as classical composer and Tin Pan Alley titan has rendered him unique. Jimmy plays it with almost solemn majesty in the opening chorus; Eddie has a conservatively pleasant interlude, and Jimmy takes it out in a manner that makes you wonder whether you will ever get to hear the Mighty Paramount Organ played like this, for there is just enough of the grandioso approach, tinged with just enough of the underlying jazz feeling, to achieve an ideal and rarely-found blending of schools.
Penthouse Serenade (When We're Alone) represents the collaboration of a native Londoner (Val Burton) and a New Yorker (Will Jason) in one of the big hits of 1931. Jimmy syncopates the melody while Bailey applies a gentle brushes-on-cymbals beat accenting 1 and 3. McFadden uses the lower reaches of his guitar for some introspective thoughts in the second chorus; he ad libs more freely in the third. The fourth and fifth chorus have Jimmy making Hines-like use of tremolo effects to bring a calmly swinging performance to a pleasant finale.
The Very Thought of You is the work of another British import, Ray (Cherokee) Noble, who penned it in 1934. It's an example of the utmost in melodic simplicity (every note is in the diatonic scale of the original key) reinforced by a sturdy harmonic substructure. McFadden introduces the melody, ad libbing slightly and gently. Or, the second chorus Jimmy scatters short phrases intriguingly through the first eight measures, rising to a fine crescendo at measures 15-16, then settling back into a mood of comparative serenity most of the rest of the way.
I Can't Get Started is, of course, another famous Vernon Duke standard, one that appealed first to trumpet players (because of the famous Bunny Berigan version cut soon after its publication in 1935) and later to every singer and jazzman. Jimmy plays a single-note melody line in the middle register but starts ad libbing pretty early in the game this time; the tempo is slow without ever seeming lethargic, and there are some pretty wild melodic patterns established. Guitar has a subdued 16 measures, Jimmy stabs out chords for a frantic release, after which there is a return to the mood of the opening, leading into a grandioso ending.
Old Devil Moon, by Yip Harburg, published in 1946 as part of the score of Pinion's Rainbow, appealed immediately to jazzmen because of its surprise half-tone rise of key in measures 5 and 6. A Latin groove is set in the introduction; the tempo is bright. Eddie again takes off effectively on the second chorus, Donald Bailey kicks and accents most effectively, and Jimmy, one need hardly add, never stops cooking.
A few moments ago I implied that you are probably a presold Jimmy Smith fan. What is important and valuable about this LP, however, is the fact that you may not be. Perhaps you were attracted by the idea that Jimmy Smith is playing these melodies prettily, just for you, and thus this is your introduction to an extraordinary young talent. So, if this is your first meeting with the Jimmy Smith Trio, all I need add is-welcome to the club!
- Leonard Feather