Dot Com Blues (Blue Thumb)
Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., Jan. 19, 2001
Dot Com Blues (Blue Thumb)The name Jimmy Smith has been synonymous with the funky sounds of the Hammond B-3 organ ever since he exploded onto the national scene in the mid-Fifties to turn the jazz world on its ear. After 45 years of being the pre-eminent musician on his instrument, there's hardly a trick he hasn't already turned, and his joining forces with the hierarchy of today's blues royalty, who lend their vocal and instrumental signatures to a handful of mostly original tunes while Smith handles the primary soloing chores, is as fresh and contemporary as the technology its title references. An instantly gratifying blues-drenched collection, Dot Com Blues should sate both jazz and blues fans alike. Perhaps more importantly for Smith, the handful of tracks featuring his esteemed guests just beg to be played on Triple A radio, a format virtually off limits to instrumentalists. B.B. King, Taj Mahal, Etta James, Dr. John, and Keb' Mo' are all staples at stations like KGSR, and if any of their tunes here garner airtime, it could help introduce Smith to a new audience. Ironically, most of these same listeners already hold a well-established affinity for Smith's patented B-3 sound through his countless progeny, ranging from Gregg Allman and Steve Winwood to Booker T. Jones. The remaining half of the album contains a deliciously greasy side order of mostly original blues instrumentals that provide a tasty complement to the main course. Here, Smith gets help from two top-notch guitarists, former Diana Krall teammate Russell Malone and consummate veteran Phil Upchurch, as well as former Austinite and Cobra saxman Joe Sublett, who lends a hand as half of the Texicali Horns. Admittedly, "CC Rider" doesn't sound any better here than it did on Smith's 1960 Blue Note album, Home Cookin', and the Ellington nugget "Mood Indigo" is a bit sleepy, but this is small potatoes. Jimmy Smith and friends have hit the bull's-eye with a "crossover" album in the very best sense of the word. Now it's up to radio to do its part.