A funny thing happened to jazz organ in the 1990s: it became popular again. Maybe not quite as popular as it was between 1956 and 1964, when Jimmy Smith’s groundbreaking attack defined the instrument for modern jazz. But during the present decade gifted young musicians like Larry Goldings, Barbara Dennerlein, and Joey DeFrancesco spurred a boomlet, and players who caught the first wave--Brother Jack McDuff, Big John Patton, and Melvin Rhyne--benefited from the current revival.
Johnny "Hammond" Smith (no relation to Jimmy), who recorded extensively for Prestige and Riverside between 1959 and 1971, was among the best of the post-Jimmy Smith crew. The two LPs collected here feature the same quartet throughout (including former Jimmy Smith guitarist Thornel Schwartz) in an easygoing standards/blues/ballads bag. Over an unfaltering groove, the leader draws so many different sounds from his instrument that itÕs almost as if one is listening to a multi-organist anthology.