Jimmy Smith

Dot Com Blues

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State-of-the-art keyboards have plenty of flash and can imitate thousands of sounds, but they still pale in comparison to the sweet soulful beauty to be heard from the Hammond B3 organ.

One of the true masters of that instrument is 73-year-old Jimmy Smith, who has an A-list cast of admirers working with him on this, his first new album in five years. You want names? Check out Etta James tearing through Willie Dixon's “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” or B.B. King teaming with Smith on a roaring rendition of King's own “Three O'Clock Blues.” Dr. John takes the vocals on the horn-driven blast “Only in It for the Money,” while other stars like Taj Mahal and Keb Mo help keep the fire burning brightly throughout the rest of the disc.

Those singers certainly add to the allure, but Smith's still-scintillating B3 work is the sparkling centerpiece here, as heard on instrumentals like “Mood Indigo” and “Tuition Blues.” With B3-based bands like Medeski, Martin and Wood bringing the instrument back into the spotlight, the time seems perfect for Smith to be getting some much-deserved attention. This disc proves his timelessness.

Kevin O'Hare