Jimmy Smith “House Party” (1958)

Track Selection: Au Privave (Charlie Parker) 12 minute extract


“Au Privave” Lee Morgan (tp) Lou Donaldson (as) Tina Brooks (ts) Jimmy Smith (org) Kenny Burrell (g) Art Blakey (d)  recorded Manhattan Towers, NYC, August 25, 1957

Just Friends”, “Blues after all” Lee Morgan (tp) Curtis Fuller (tb) George Coleman (as) Jimmy Smith (org) Kenny Burrell (g -1) Eddie McFadden (g -2) Donald Bailey (d) above session. “Lover Man” Lou Donaldson (as) Jimmy Smith (org) Eddie McFadden (g) Donald Bailey (d) Manhattan Towers, NYC, February 25, 1958


Jimmy’s star was still in the ascendant in 1957, and teamed with A-list guests Lee Morgan, Tina Brooks most welcome presence, an early Lou Donaldson, and Kenny Burrell, all given the opportunity to stretch out on the solos, as there is lots of space on a record side during these blowing sessions, and money to spare for even more guests like Curtis Fuller, from savings on a bass player.

Lou Donaldson’s alto solo on the Charlie Parker tune Au Privave, coming directly after Lee Morgan’s piece, is fabulous and  frighteningly fast in places, sounds like six or seven fingers on each hand, even though occasionally a long twisting line runs into a cul de sac under its own speed where Parker would have kept it’s nose up and made it over the top to the next climb. Tina adds tenor textures, while Burrell’s fluid guitar figures mean the solo line never tires, Jimmy all the time cooking a way underneath. Definitely one of the better Jimmy’s.

The title “House Party” is another time and place. It is 1957. Your parents are away for the weekend. Everyone from your high school class is invited around to your house on Saturday night for a “house party”. You have the run of the house, bedroom upstairs for coats (and serious petting), downstairs the  record player is out and room for dancing.  Friends arrive, one by one, and each has brought with them a record to play. The same latest Jimmy Smith record, “House Party”. Luckily, every one has written their name on the label…


Always interesting to look close up at these “mongrel” pressings. An “original” Blue Note but second pressing 47 West 63rd with Inc/”r” on Side One, and sightly mismatched lighter colour blue New York labels on Side Two.Upshot, it’s a later pressing from 1964 which would tie in with the Blue Note inner sleeve.  The older “deep groove” die is used on the side with the more recent NY label. Is that ironic? The matrix codes indicate stamper derived from the original master, so sonically I would expect little different, and it is classic Mono bright and punchy.

Collectors Corner

Due to the impressive guest list, a more expensive Jimmy Smith  than later releases, which are not especially collectible and can be difficult to tell one from another. An “original” Blue Note in Mono with interesting players, and not too long of just Jimmy stabbing away at the Hammond keyboard.

3 thoughts on “Jimmy Smith “House Party” (1958)

  1. I figure that’s the way to do it on ebay–look for the early but not first pressings. Great sound, still collectible, but a bit less of a premium.

  2. Indeed. The star studded line-up of personnel is the reason to own this one. It was also the reason for me to obtain the two “A Date With Jimmy Smith” volumes; also with superb players. And once again keeping a close eye on the trail off etchings proves to be the best way to figure out what kinda sound to expect. And indeed: you’re basically enjoying the sound of the very 1st pressing 😉

  3. Nice one–only have this on CD. I have quite a few Jimmy Smith LP’s though. A couple nice first pressings (like you said, they are less collectible–I could probably actually afford them) of the titles I like the best and I’m all set.

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