Jimmy Smith: A Date with Jimmy Smith Vol.1 (1957) Blue Note


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

1950’s printing technology dimpled sheen, seemingly impossible to replicate today


Missing the very first “NYC 23” address mark of the First Press, but still no “Inc” after “Blue Note Records”, and no “R” registered Trade Mark below the E of NOTE



Collectors Corner

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”



12 thoughts on “Jimmy Smith: A Date with Jimmy Smith Vol.1 (1957) Blue Note

  1. Just found a copy of this with NY23 labels on both sides but the disc has a beaded rim instead of flat. Titles on the back go up to 1574 which would indicate a second press as well. It is essentially the same piece you have but with NY23 labels. Feel the exact same way as you do about it- excellent lineup, enjoyable pace, brilliant recording. May be the only JS record I file for the time being.

  2. Wow I have never heard anyone bash Jimmy Smith as a musician ever
    He Is singlehandedly the most brilliant and copied hammond organist ever
    (snipped – personal remarks – mod)

    • Reading this, it occurred to me that even MY contribution below might have been misunderstood as being part of the “bashing” chorus. If this is the case, I would recommend reading it again, carefully.

  3. Though from a hard-core jazz lover’s point of view, Jimmy’s 1957 Blue Note sessions may represent his most consistent body of work, I personally have always associated the Smith organ with the sound of Oliver Nelson’s orchestra, and with pieces like “Trouble In Mind”, “The Preacher”, “The Creeper”… you name them. There is a kind of magic even in some of the light-weight stuff found on each of those Verve LPs (few of which are listenable from A to Z, except perhaps “Bashin’ “). Inconsistent as those disks may be – whenever Jimmy and Oliver really take care of business, there’s hardly anything I would rather listen to. And by the way, they had a pretty good recording engineer at that time, known by the name of Rudy Van Gelder.

    • Many things are popular in their time. Some stand the test of history, some don’t. I think Smith is one of those very distinctive artists that suffered chronic over-exposure. Stanley Turrentine was another, always found in second hand bins cheap and not selling. Meanwhile people are fighting over Tina Brooks, Sonny Clarke, Hank Mobley, Sonny Rollins (try getting an original Saxophone Collosus at a sensible price!). Jimmy Smith was always a one-trick pony.Once he had run his course, people moved on.

    • Yeah, my mission is to find a Jimmy Smith album on which he does not appear at all. To be fair there are a couple of others I enjoy – Cool Blues (Tina Brooks!!) and “The Sermon” (Tina Brooks!!). Get the picture?

  4. Aha… You have the Vol.1 that’s closest to the initial NYC 23 pressing. Remember the extensive debate we had on this one when it turned out that -apart from the label- all the details in the vinyl of my New York USA copy (ear, hand etched RVG, rapid trail-out) were the same as in the very 1st pressing? You can still find those photos in this photo album. Thankfully my copy of Vol.2 is a NYC 23 pressing as we saw earlier in this photo album. Anyway, for me, too, the main reason to lay hands on these two Jimmy Smith albums was the superb line up 😉

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