The Sermon Jimmy Smith album review

The Sermon – Jimmy Smith

Artist: Jimmy Smith

Year1959

Genre: Soul Jazz

Grade: A-

Jazz organist Jimmy Smith was one of the most prolific bandleaders of the late-‘50s, releasing over 40 LPs in an eight-year span. His vast discography is intimidating, but there are several highlights that stand out from the rest. One of the most notable is The Sermon, a jam session that seamlessly combines hard bop, electric blues and psychedelic soul.

The innovative sound of Smith’s Hammond B-3 organ makes every song sound ahead of its time. Nowhere is this more evident than the 20-minute title track, which could realistically go on for hours. It’s one of the best examples of Smith’s hard-driving style.

Throughout the LP, Smith is in rare form. His all-encompassing B-3 attack mimics everything from guitar to percussion to saxophone, forcefully controlling the flow of the music. But The Sermon also benefits from an all-star supporting cast, with important contributions from the likes of Kenny Burrell, Art Blakey and Lee Morgan. Their tight chemistry with Smith is what truly distinguishes The Sermon as a stand-out LP amidst such an extensive career.

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