House Party comes from the same sessions that produced Smith’s better-known The Sermon. The 1957 and ’58 studio dates included both his working rhythm section of guitarist Eddie McFadden and drummer Donald Bailey and the guest pairing of Kenny Burrell and Art Blakey, as well as a coterie of horn players. While The Sermon emphasizes Smith’s funkier side, House Party demonstrates his ability to play dyed-in-the-wool bop on a Hammond organ. The music really springs to life on the two long takes of Charlie Parker tunes, “Au Privave” and the previously unissued “Confirmation.” Blakey’s presence on these adds an immediate spark, and Smith serves up a heady mix of powerful riffs and bubbling, blistering lines that erupt from the organ. The animation spreads to an excellent frontline with trumpeter Lee Morgan and saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Tina Brooks. The rest of the CD is good period fare, with fine work from Morgan, Burrell, McFadden, and Smith but without the same sense of excitement.
Personnel: Jimmy Smith (organ); Lou Donaldson, George Coleman (alto saxophone); Tina Brooks (tenor saxophone); Lee Morgan (trumpet); Curtis Fuller (trombone); Kenny Burrell, Eddie McFadden (guitar); Art Blakey, Donald Bailey (drums).
01. Au Privave
02. Lover Man
03. Just Friends
04. Blues After All