In his liner notes to "Off the Top," organist Jimmy Smith expresses gratitude for having the chance to record "what I want people to feel." The pleasure, it turns out, is ours. If you've grown weary of Smith's over- produced recordings or similarly cluttered albums by George Benson or Stanley Turrentine, then "Off the Wall" will reaffirm your faith in these musicians, just as surely as it tests the extemporaneous skills of everyone involved. There's nothing premeditated about this album. Acting on Benson's recommendation, all three musicians, along with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Grady Tate, gathered for an informal, straight-ahead jazz session. The results are refreshing -- all the musicians are consistently resourceful -- and the music exhibits a remarkable cohesiveness and spirit. Underscoring a few performances are familiar blues changes, which are given an authoritative ring by Smith's insistent right figures, Turrentine's dark lyricism and Benson's nimble precision. But less-likely tunes, including an open-ended "Theme From M*A*S*H" and a softly seductive "Endless Love," are surprisingly effective, too. At one point, after polishing off Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin' " in an inventive, cascading keyboard style reminiscent of Erroll Garner, Smith says: "Like the old days." The good old days. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM JIMMY SMITH -- Off the Top (Elektra Musician 60175-1) THE SHOW JIMMY SMITH, Friday through Sunday at Blues Alley.