Track Selection: “Falling in Love with Love” Byrd/Blakey/ Donaldson/Mobley/ McFadden… and Smith (excerpt)
Donald Byrd (tp) Lou Donaldson (as) Hank Mobley (ts) Jimmy Smith (org) Eddie McFadden (g) Art Blakey (d) recorded Manhattan Towers, NYC, February 11, 1957
When offered a Jimmy Smith record,normally, I say “thanks, but I have all the Jimmy Smith records I need”, meaning one, possibly two. However this looked an interesting proposition. The line up of Byrd Mobley Donaldson McFadden and Blakey more or less guarantees you are not going to be subjected to “Death by Hammond B3” for forty minutes, as much of Smith’s later catalogue.
Musically it has a fine pace. Good stretching out solos from the assembled boppers, and nice to have the additional texture of two different saxes – Donaldson’s alto to Mobley’s tenor, afforded probably by the saving on the bass player – courtesy of Jimmy’s foot pedals. Having recently tuned the ear to Ornette Coleman, it took a few minutes to adjust back to the happy swinging and stabbing of Smith’s fingers on the Hammond keyboard, but with the assistance of a glass or two of rose, the joint was soon jumpin’.
The audio quality is everything you expect from these great pressings. Musicians in the room. Top your glass up, Jimmy?
Vinyl: Blue Note BLP 1547 early 2nd press, original, mono
It is a genuine Plastylite mono 1500 series, thick vinyl, hand signature “RVG” in the runout (and “9M”), double Deep Groove, 47 West 63rd address with no “Inc” or “R” on either label or the cover, in a beautiful laminated jacket with no title on the spine. Name on Cover “Schmidt” indicates it once belonged to the 1990’s prolific jazz collector, one of several in my collection.
A very early second press, lacking the rare “NYC 23” address suffix, and it is not a flat edge, but you can sometimes be too picky. I would bet the farm it’s pre-1959, if not earlier, from the same mother/matrix/stampers as the very first press, so sounds little different, if that matters. Condition of vinyl VG+++./Ex
From the collection of the prolific collector “Schmidt”, who added his moniker to countless hundreds of records I come across. Even the hardened professionals who work in record stores nod and recognise Schmidt’s idiosyncratic signature, thoughtfullly placed on the rear cover as though it was part of the credits on the liner notes. “Yeah, its a “Schmidt”