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Bucket (1963)

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Quentin Warren

Recorded the first day of February in 1963, but not released for a few years, Bucket! is a fairly typical Jimmy Smith session, featuring the organist running through a selection of originals and standards with guitarist Quentin Warren and drummer Donald Bailey in tow. The vibe is relaxed, not too laid-back but hardly energetic, as the trio easily strolls through bluesy ballads and lightly swinging soulful ballads. It's damning with faint praise to say that nothing exceptional ever happens but it doesn't need to happen, but that is truly the case here. Bucket! is simply a middle-of-the-road affair, not quite boring but never quite compelling either. It's good easy-listening music, finding an organ master kicking out seven tunes (the 2000 CD reissue contains nine cuts, including the previously unreleased "Trouble in Mind" and an alternate take of "Sassy Mae") without any pressure and with a minimal sense of style. That makes for a pretty good record, one that hardcore fans will find satisfying after they've exhausted the greater Smith sessions, but not one that will captivate the attentions of anyone who isn't a dyed-in-the-wool Jimmy Smith aficionado. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine