The two Jazz Scene USA episodes released here are perhaps the best of this short-lived 1962 series. Pianist Phineas Newborn Jr. created quite a stir in the late '50s, but mental illness kept him from being much of a presence beyond the early '60s. Here we see him at the top of his game--no interview with the host, just great jazz piano. His "Blues for the Left Hand Only" is both groovy and technically impressive, and his classically tinged version of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" is something even Swee'pea himself would have approved of.
Jimmy Smith's set is nothing but full-on balls-to-the-wall organ jazz. "Walk on the Wild Side" starts easy and builds to a mad crescendo with Smith playing with both hands, both feet to the pedal, and his chin. God Bless America.
Jimmy Smith (b. 1925) exploded onto the jazz scene in 1956 with the first of many great Blue Note LP's. His dynamic work on the Hammond B-3 organ caused everybody to sit up and take notice, and within a few years the jazz world was overpopulated with Smith-inspired disciples, ranging from the very talented down to marginally competent copycats.
We see him here working out on Walk on the Wild Side, Mac the Knife, and his tour-de-force 1956 hit, The Champ.
"If someone looks at them years form now, we feel these shows will give a genuine idea of what jazz was like in 1962." - STEVE ALLEN
"The first time jazz musicians have been given complete freedom to be - and sound - like themselves on television." - OAKLAND TRIBUNE