Root Down captures the king of the Hammond B3 organ, Jimmy Smith, playing down and dirty R&B. It isn’t that Smith had forgotten that he was one of the jazz greats for this 1972 live concert, but with an LA rhythm section, there is definitely a groove here. A damn funky groove, at that. The album includes two versions (one previously unissued) of Smith’s “Root Down,” a song covered by the Beastie Boys in 1994. There is also a hypnotic reading of Al Green‘s pleading “Let’s Stay Together,” which yet again proves that Jimmy Smith is a man with a lot of soul. But it is when he ups the pace that the album really comes alive, such as on his “Slow Down Sagg,” released here in its entirety for the first time. With Arthur Adams accompanying on fat-back guitar, its raw funk would impress James Brown. With Root Down, dancing shoes are essential. –Phil Brett
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