Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery - 1966 [1984] "The Dynamic Duo"

Jimmy & Wes: The Dynamic Duo is the first collaboration album by American jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery and electric organist Jimmy Smith, released in 1966.

Creed Taylor matched two of his most famous artists, Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Smith, on this session (Montgomery's last for Verve), and the results are incendiary -- a near-ideal meeting of yin and yang. Smith comes at your throat with his big attacks and blues runs while Montgomery responds with rounder, smoother octaves and single notes that still convey much heat. They are an amazing pair, complementing each other, driving each other, using their bop and blues taproots to fuse together a sound. The romping, aggressive big band charts -- Oliver Nelson at his best -- on "Down by the Riverside" and "Night Train," and the pungently haunting chart for Gary McFarland's "13" (Death March)" still leave plenty of room for the soloists to stretch out. "James and Wes" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" include drummer Grady Tate and conguero Ray Barretto, with Smith's own feet working the organ pedals. The Verve Master Edition reissue also includes an alternate take of "O.G.D." with Tate and Barretto, a track previously surfacing on a long-gone Encyclopedia of Jazz anthology LP from the '60s -- a neat bonus that makes this the preferred version.

I have been listening to this CD since it came out in 1966. Even though there is a lot of "sweetening" with big band and strings on a lot of this CD, this first cut, "James and Wes" is two giants taking the opportunity to just cook and, buddy, they get right to it! Grady Tate punctuates and acknowledges this glorious blues dialogue. The playing is spontaneous and simple yet highly sophisticated and organized. The comping is magnificent. There is much to get even after many hearings.
This cut could be the epitome of organ/guitar jazz trio blues cuts, certainly a good reason to own this CD.

Two virtuosos on their respective instruments. Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery lay down some smoking hot tracks. The combo is tight, and yet there is a chill groove throughout the album. I recommend this album for anyone who likes that Hammond sound or smooth, driving, full phrasing on a guitar. This one won't let you down!

Track listing

    "Down by the Riverside" (Traditional) – 10:02
    "Night Train" (Jimmy Forrest) – 6:46
    "James and Wes" (Jimmy Smith) – 8:13
    "13 (Death March)" (Gary McFarland) – 5:22
    "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (Frank Loesser) – 6:05

Personnel:

Jimmy Smith – Hammond organ
Wes Montgomery – guitar
Grady Tate – drums
Ray Barretto – conga (tracks 3 - 5)

 Tracks 1, 2, 4 add:

Bob Ashton, Danny Bank, Jerry Dodgion, Jerome Richardson, Phil Woods – reeds
Clark Terry – trumpet, flugelhorn
Ernie Royal, Jimmy Maxwell, Joe Newman – trumpet
Jimmy Cleveland, Melba Liston, Quentin Jackson – trombone
Tony Studd – bass trombone (tracks 1-2)
Dick Hixson – bass trombone (track 4)
Richard Davis – bass

3 comments:

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  2. Such a golden pairing. Thank you
    so much!

    ReplyDelete