I heard a radio interview with drummer Shelly Mann back in the 1970s, and one evocative phrase stayed with me ever since. He was trying to explain what felt out of sync about Third Stream jazz back in the 1950s. Call it weird, call it cerebral, Mann seemed to say, “it was like Einstein walking into a rib joint.”
Yeah. Third Stream always left me feeling a little cold, but the rib joint glows in my memory like red neon on a dark night. It flashes once and says “creature warmth.” It flashes again and says “barbecue.” Mmmm. Something sweet and tangy will happen before the night ends.
Call it a rib joint, call it a chicken shack. All it takes is a Hammond B3 organ to transform a dive into the glowing inferno at the heart of the universe on an icy December night. Let Jimmy Smith take you there with Back at the Chicken Shack and Moanin’.
Listening to Jimmy Smith also takes me back to jam sessions when I was a kid. My father had a Hammond B2 with a Leslie speaker. It was his baby, and the envy of all my punk garage band friends. Thank god it wasn’t portable, or I would have had to help schlep it to gigs. My dad played it like Lenny Dee, and my friends like Jimmy Smith or Billy Preston. Once that oscillating Leslie speaker began to whir, though, there was a meeting of musical minds across the generations.
Café Mouffe opens evry Friday ’round 3 p.m. Please drop by for a listen and a chat. Sometimes the embedded videos don’t work here due to bandwidth constraints, but you’ll always find links to video sources in the notes. Try them. If you’re curious about the Mouffe, here’s the original idea behind it’s creation.