© 2018 The Grass Roots Cultural and Performing Arts Center

The Ken clark trio- TRIBUTE TO JIMMY SMITH

- THE VERVE SESSIONS -

By the mid to late 1960's the Hammond B3 organ had cemented it's place as a lead instrument in the jazz and soul music scene. Among the most prolific players of the Hammond B3 were Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Brother Jack McDuff, Booker T. Jones and others but it was Jimmy Smith that gave the instrument it's re-birth in the mid 60's and early 70's. Those years saw Smith branching into different styles of jazz that blended a more soulful style that was prominent in popular music of the day and was less dependent on improvisation and even included a stint where he added vocals. Most of those Verve Records recordings from the early 1960's until 1965 were engineered by the incomparable Rudy Van Gelder and contain some of Smith's most notable recordings. Most of what was chosen for this tribute came from those recordings from 1962-65.

When you are going to pay tribute to Jimmy Smith, at least in Boston, you start by getting Ken Clark on board for the project. Clark is a master of the Hammond B3 and has an encyclopedic knowledge of Jimmy Smith's catalog. From there you get solid players that can both emulate the sessions and add their own skill and style to those sessions. Mike Mele on guitar is a great player with tone and style reminiscent of the greats of both the era and the players on those monumental sides that included Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery and George Benson. Steve Chaggaris on drums is among the best session players in the entire region. He's a drummer with a vast knowledge of the styles and players of the era. To round out the quartet Bobby Hickman was brought in for percussion and with that we had a quartet that could pull these songs together and record and film them for posterity.

Re-creating the Verve Sessions was less about trying to do it note-for-note and more about trying to capture the vibe and spirit of the music, to make it more of a tribute to a period when jazz and soul music were coming together and influencing all aspects of popular culture. These albums, these songs this style of music is fading away from view and as a purely American art form it's important to celebrate the art and keep it alive and moving forward for future generations. Art is not just a visual medium...it can be heard, tasted, smelled and touched...jazz is art.

THE KEN CLARK TRIO

Ken Clark - Hammond B3, vocals
Steve Chaggaris - drums

Mike Mele - guitar

Bobby Hickman - percussion
 

The Session Crew

Produced and edited by:
Bill Hurley

Cameras:
Maribeth Arena

Bill Hurley
H. Nat Stevens
Joanne Craig

Audio:
Eric Nordstrom
Connor Quigley

Mixed by:
Connor Quigley

Lighting/Special Effects:
Rick Smith

Stage Production:
Gerry Earabino

Photos:
Dan Busler Photography