Jimmy Smith at Salle Pleyel 1969

Which musicians can be said to have completely changed the way people imagined an instrument might be played? Certainly Charlie Parker and John Coltrane as saxophonists, Oscar Peterson as a pianist, John McLaughlin as a guitarist. But top of the list might be Jimmy Smith for taking the behemoth of the Hammond Organ and turning it into a valid bebop solo voice.

Despite spending much of his studio time in the 1960s making big band recordings, Smith was still playing live in a trio setting (no bass player needed…) largely ignoring the call of pop music and staying true to the sound that caused such a stir on his earliest Blue Note recordings. This 1969 concert in France is a great example of that.