The great Jimmy Smith (1928-2005) drew on a strong sense of the blues and dizzying technique to create invigorating -- and consistently surprising -- marathon solos. Smith established the Hammond B3 organ as an important instrument in jazz, and for decades was the instrument's most fearsome practitioner: To watch Smith was to witness notes and bunches of ideas whipped into a torrent of brain-cramping information.
Smith was also among the most prolific jazz bandleaders; he released sometimes three or four titles in a year -- most are at least worth hearing once. This performance of "The Sermon," captured by the BBC in 1964, offers great insight into Smith's gifts -- though the tempo is moderate, the groove is relentless and intense. Listen to how Smith ever so slyly stokes the fire beneath the gifted (and rarely heard) guitarist Quentin Warren.