Sample Sundays: Jimmy Smith


It’s Sunday Sample time for all you sample junkies out there.

This week I’m bringing you a sample from one of the jazz musicians who helped popularize and perfect the use of the Hammond B-3 electric organ — Jimmy Smith. The sample comes from Smith’s live album Root Down, recorded in Los Angeles and released on Verve Records in 1972. This album is a prime example of the “acid-jazz” that was being released in the ’70s by many of the major labels and is definitely worth having in your collection (I recommend a vinyl copy if you really want to hear the quality of the recording) — it’s also funky as hell.

The sample comes from the song “Root Down (And Get It):

Smith nails everything, with his Hammond B-3 feeling as comfortable as silk underwear. Paul Humphrey bangs the drums like there is no tomorrow, Arthur Adams is extra-funky on the guitar, and Wilton Feder provides the backbone for this non-stop groove as he “slappa da bass” so very well (shout out to Paul Rudd a.k.a. Peter Klaven for you “I Love You Man” fans out there).

Well, if the words at the top of the page didn’t tell you who famously sampled this song (and you didn’t cheat by scrolling down), then it’s time to clue you in:

Beastie Boys – “Root Down”

(Watch the video. It pays homage to one of the fundamental elements of hip-hop – break dancing. The Beastie Boys know their “roots,” and every respectable hip-hop head should too.)

It’s the Beastie Boys y’all. Do I really need to say much more than that? Three white guys from New York who came on the rap scene and disabused everyone of the notion that “white people can’t rap.” Not only were the Beastie’s masters of the mic, but they also had a pretty damn good ear for choosing some of the funkiest beats of all time (Paul’s Boutique should be in every producer’s mind when they set out to bring the flavor).

“Root Down” is off of the triple-platinum (they move units like a mofo) Beastie classic Ill Communication, which most of you probably know for the genre defying “Sabotage.” Do I need to tell you to get this album? (I kind of just did).

Bonus Sample:

This week’s bonus sample comes from James Brown and the wiggity wild boogedy woogedy Das EFX

James Brown – “Blind Man Can See It”

(The sample comes at 0:45, but damn if this soul doesn’t hit you in the gut from the jump. Record your face melting as you hear the sample.)

Das Efx – “They Want EFX”

(The album is called Dead Serious, and I’m serious when I say it’s a must own from the ’90s – hip-hop’s “Golden Age.”)

For those of y’all new to Sample Sundays, here are the links to the previous installments (in order of date posted):