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Straight Life (1961)

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Jimmy Smith

The tracks that make up Straight Life had been sitting in the Blue Note vaults since they were recorded on June 22, 1961, representing the only recorded output that year by Jimmy Smith and his trio of the era, which included guitarist Quentin Warren and drummer Donald Bailey. Somehow these ten songs got lost in the shuffle between the 1960 Blue Note date Crazy! Baby and Smith's leap into the national spotlight with his first Verve release, Bashin', in 1962. The trio swings along on six standards and three originals "Straight Life," "Jimmy's Blues," and two versions of "Minor Fare." Although not in the same league as Midnight Special or Prayer Meetin', it's great to hear this long lost hard bop session from the master of the Hammond B-3. ~ Al Campbell