Johnny "Hammond" Smith (1933-1997) was one of the uncrowned kings of the organ from which he took his nickname, so as to distinguish him from guitarist Johnny Smith. In 1962-63, he recorded four LPs, all of them top-notch, for Riverside, half of which are reissued here. As on the other two albums (contained in Black Coffee--Milestone MCD-47072-2), there's a winning mix of standards and blues, hard-bop, and savory soul grooves, played by two different bands. And this set, like the earlier reissue of Riverside material, features the versatile Smith either backed by a bassist (the ever-reliable Bob Cranshaw) or providing his own bass lines with the organ's pedals. On the LP Open House Smith welcomes an all-star septet featuring a front line of trumpeter Thad Jones and tenor saxist Seldon Powell, while A Little Taste is a quartet date with trumpeter Virgil Jones, tenorist Houston Person, and the little-known but fiery drummer, Luis Taylor.
with Thad Jones, Seldon Powell, Eddie McFadden, Bob Cranshaw, Leo Stevens, Ray Barretto, Arthur Taylor, Virgil Jones, Houston Person, Luis Taylor