Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Johnny "Hammond" Smith ''Opus De Funk''

Johnny "Hammond" Smith

''Opus De Funk''
( LP Prestige Records, 1961 )
Catalog # PR 7420

1. Opus De Funk
2. Almost Like Being in Love
3. Autumn Leaves
4. Sad Eyes
5. Gone With The Wind
6. If Someone Had Told Me
7. Shirley’s Theme

Personnel & Notes:
Johnny “Hammond” Smith – Organ
Eddie McFadden – Guitar
Freddie McCoy – Vibraphone
Wendell Marshall – Double Bass
Leo Stevens – Drums
Tracks 1-3 recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio,
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 14, 1961
Tracks 4-7 recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio,
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, May 12, 1961
** Also part of Prestige PRCD 24291-2

While organist Johnny ‘Hammond’ Smith never attained the status of Jimmy Smith , he nonetheless fronted first-rate bands and accumulated a fine discography. Recorded in 1961, Opus de Funk brings together two Smith albums in one package, Stimulation and Opus de Funk . Since the same band — vibraphonist Freddie McCoy , guitarist Eddie McFadden , bassist Wendell Marshall , and drummer Leo Stevens — played on both sets, and since both albums aren’t very long by contemporary standards, the pair fit snuggly on the same set. The really unusual element here is the presence of McCoy , because one doesn’t usually associate vibes with jazz organ combos. The vibes work, however, and give the resonance of Smith ’s organ a lighter counterpoint that brightens up the overall sound. The band delivers fine versions of familiar pieces — ‘Cry Me a River,’ ‘Autumn Leaves,’ and ‘Gone With the Wind’ — alongside newer pieces like ‘Ribs an’ Chips’ and ‘Que Pasa?’ With a couple of exceptions, this snappy unit likes to keep things tight, and seldom extends a piece for over five minutes. The one big exception is Smith ’s ‘Ribs an’ Chips,’ a breezy eight-minute bit of blues with fine solos by McFadden and McCoy . Opus de Funk is a welcome reissue and will be greeted warmly by jazz organ fans.
By Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.
(AMG. Copyright © 2010 All Media Guide, LLC. Content provided by All Music Guide ®, a trademark of All Media Guide, LLC. All rights reserved.)


Fantasy/Prestige has just released a re-mastered twofer album by Johnny "Hammond" Smith made up of the 1961 albums Stimulation and Opus de Funk.
This record rates some interest just by being organ based jazz, not a real common thing. Other than a few Fats Waller sides, I don't know when I've heard any.
Beyond that novelty, it's pretty listenable, but not anything earthshaking. It doesn't particularly have the high mathematical intellectual interest of, say, Thelonious Monk or Duke. Nor does it have the deep searing soul of classic Miles Davis.
These albums were recorded several years before James Brown defined "funk" as we now know it. So don't be expecting some Bootsy Collins freakery, or anything real radical. Indeed, half of these albums seem rather too mellow to reasonably be called "funky" even by pre-JB standards.
The better parts of this, though, just have some good jamming. "Sticks and Stones" and "Stimulation" (the framing songs of the Stimulation album) rate as the best groovin' jams to my ears. They get going with that organ and the vibes together, and you could use this for some good catchy midtempo dance music.
Short answer, if the idea of jazz organ jams appeals to you, this disc definitely rates a listen.
From Blogcritics (Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved)

More info here.

Thanks to Heup1 for provide this gem.
By Pier


Anonymous said...



Bill said...

Missed this one! Thank you Heup1 and MFS for the share.

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