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Johnny "Hammond" Smith: Talk That Talk

Album Notes

Personnel: Johnny "Hammond" Smith, Oliver Nelson, George Tucker, Arthur Taylor, Ray Barretto, Lem Winchester, Eddie McFadden, Wendell Marshall, Bill Erskine.

Recorded in 1960.

An excellent piece of early soul-jazz, 1960's Talk That Talk isn't as bop-oriented as Shirley Scott's albums with Stanley Turrentine from the same period, as flashy and ornate as the albums Jimmy Smith was starting to make with Creed Taylor and Lalo Schifrin, or as funky and blues-based as the best of Jimmy McGriff or "Brother" Jack McDuff. Smith's playing on this album is low-key almost to the point of being conservative, deeply soulful without resorting to what would soon become tired funk clichés. For the most part, the settings are the standard organ/bass/drums trio, with occasional appearances by tenor saxophonist Oliver Nelson, vibraphonist Lem Winchester, and guitarist Eddie McFadden to provide textural variety. Smith is always at the center of the arrangements, taking almost all the solos, which means that less organ-besotted listeners might find the album a bit samey, but on tracks like a loping, gentle version of "An Affair to Remember" and a gorgeously soulful "Misty," Johnny "Hammond" Smith shows exactly why he deserves his nickname. [The 1995 CD reissue of Talk That Talk appends six additional tracks, originally released as Smith's Gettin' the Message LP, also from 1960.] ~ Stewart Mason


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