"The Dynamic Duo" - Jimmy Smith (org); Wes Montgomery (g); Oliver Nelson (arr, cond); Jerome Richardson (fl, cl); Phil Woods (sax, cl); Clark Terry, Ernie Royal (tp); Jimmy Cleveland (tb); Richard Davis (b); Grady Tate (dr); Ray Barretto (perc), and others
Producer Creed Taylor made a wise choice in bringing Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery and Oliver Nelson together in 1966: the innate drive of the arrangments audibly animated the man with the 'strong thumb' (he did not use a plectrum) and the magician at the organ attacked the keys with just a mite more aggression than in his previous Blue Note recordings. This cauldron bubbles and boils hellishly, the ingredients are as hot as chili sauce, and with every taste one cries out for more but all too soon the five plates are empty. Luckily one can start at the beginning again with "Down By The Riverside" where Wes plays the guitar as though he had invented it and Jimmy literally explodes on the keys. "Night Train" is an excellent example of Oliverís geniality in arranging for brass, sparingly allotting dabs of sound as it were between the two soloists. With its slow tempo "13 (Death March)" gives the listener a bit of a breather before the two Titans on the strings and keyboard and the monster of the art of arranging (as they were somewhat over-enthusiastically described by DJ Holmes Daylie) get back to work again.
This small ensemble with its drums and percussion gives the listener the opportunity to admire the uncanny rapport between the two members of the dynamic duo. All in all a perfect production of the very highest standard!
Recording: September 1966 at Van Gelderís Studios, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,
by Rudy Van Gelder
Production: Creed Taylor