Monday, August 24, 2009

10 albums a day #25

Jaco Pastorius - Jaco Pastorius (1976, CD)
Jaki Byard - Family Man (1978, mp3 download)
Jimmy Smith
- Jimmy Smith at the Organ, Vol. 3 (1956, CD)
- Cool Blues (1958, CD)
- The Sermon! (1958, CD)
- Home Cookin' (1959, CD)
- Back at the Chicken Shack (1960, CD)
- Rockin' the Boat (1963, CD)
- Prayer Meetin' (1964, CD)
- Christmas Cookin' (1964, CD)
- Stay Loose (1968, CD)
- Dot Com Blues (2000, CD)
- The Finest in Jazz (2007, CD)

I guess that Jaco Pastorius CD is probably everyone's first Jaco CD. It was his first solo album, or really I guess it would be more accurate to say his first leader album. He also played with Weather Report, and may have been the greatest bass player to have ever lived. He played the fretless bass. I still need to get some Weather Report stuff. Another gaping hole in the collection, there.

Family Man was downloaded from Kathleen Loves Music. Jaki Byard plays piano and alto & tenor sax and on this album is accompanied by bass, drums and vibraphone. The bass player also plays the tuba.

And then we get to Jimmy Smith. I love the sound of the organ, and Jimmy Smith may have been the greatest jazz organist ever (I say "may" only to avoid argument--I believe he was). I first heard of him in Keyboard magazine back in the 80s, so I went to Sundance Records and asked the guy there which album he'd recommend. He handed me the LP of Back at the Chicken Shack (pre-owned and sealed in their heavy plastic sleeve since it was just slightly collectible, in near-mint condition and cost me about $15). I still have that LP but I have since also purchased the CD. At that time I didn't have much of an ear for jazz, but this album really spoke to me. For a long time, however, it was the only one I had. When I signed up at the first thing I noticed was that they had a lot of his CDs, so I put them all the queue and I'm still working my way through them. He actually started out as a pianist, and two of the CDs still in the queue include his early stuff when he still played piano. From what I read, one day he decided he wanted to play the organ, so he holed up with one and didn't see the light of day for a few weeks. When he came up for air, he was playing the organ, and that was that. Of course, the organ I'm talking about is the Hammond electric organ. In his combos, he usually didn't have a bass player (maybe never, but I wouldn't swear to that), because he also played the bass line with the organ foot pedals. The curious thing about Jimmy Smith and the organ is that before him, it really wasn't considered a jazz instrument, being used mainly for gospel music. But Smith had an intuition that it would make a great jazz instrument, and he was right. Because of his influence and amazing talent, the Hammond organ is now part of just about any genre of popular music you could name.

Album count: 244.

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