Jimmy Smith: Messy Bessie
If you could only buy one organ-led jazz album, you'd be in quite a bind. For starters, there were two absolute masters of the genre: Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff. Smith started earlier and really made the organ a serious jazz instrument, so we'll give him the nod. But Smith recorded two stone-cold classics, Back at the Chicken Shack and Midnight Special (just two of the five albums he released for Blue Note in 1960), so which one to pick?
As it turns out, both albums were recorded at the same session, so you can't go wrong with either one. So with the flip of a digital coin, I've chosen Back at the Chicken Shack, represented here by the Smith original "Messy Bessie". It starts right off the the Hammond, which makes it perfect for this week's theme. Drummer Don Bailey, guitarist Kenny Burrell, and sax man Stanley Turrentine back him up with some of the down-home funkiness soul-jazz was known for, and everyone gets to stretch out on this 12-minute groove.