Jimmy Smith – 1964 – Christmas Cookin’

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This Christmas jazz album has five selections in which organist Jimmy Smith is joined by a big band arranged by either Billy Byers or Al Cohn. The remaining selections feature Smith with a variety of trios; guitarist Wes Montgomery is heard on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” one of two “bonus” cuts taken from other sessions that help to fill up this otherwise brief set. Smith is fine on “Jingle Bells“, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and two versions of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and, even if nothing all that unusual occurs, the performances can serve as high-quality background music during the Christmas season.

Just love it, a holiday must. Comes automatically in your library on the Amazon Music player, so I can listen to it any time on my computer, as I am right now. Heavy rotation during the holidays, it never loses its appeal. Definitely a hint of humor here and there, just wonderful. But also some serious/fun Hammond B-3 jazz.

I’m a middle aged, sorta amateur jazz fan (love a lot of jazz, but am not well-versed in it). And I have a substantial Christmas music CD collection, of which there has never been enough strictly jazz Christmas material because there just hasn’t been a lot to choose from. This album gets top five placement in the entire collection, along with Herb Alpert, Mancini, Conniff, and Vince Guaraldi, and will stay there. There is nothing like this sound. If you are a B-3 fan, this album is an absolute must. It is very nostalgic and special; just get it.


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