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  • Jimmy Smith RIP

    Feb. 9, 2005, 4:38PM


    Jazz organ pioneer Jimmy Smith dies at 79
    By ARTHUR SPIEGELMAN
    Reuters News Service

    LOS ANGELES -- Organist Jimmy Smith, who helped change the sound of jazz by almost single-handedly introducing the electric riffs of the Hammond B-3 organ, has died at age 79 at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., his record label said Wednesday.

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    A spokeswoman for the Concord record label said Smith died of natural causes.

    Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 8, 1925, Smith ruled the Hammond B-3 in the 1950s and 1960s and blended jazz, blues, R&B, bebop and even gospel into an exciting stew that came to known as "soul jazz" -- an idiom that produced imitators, followers and fans.

    "Anyone who plays the organ is a direct descendant of Jimmy Smith. It's like Adam and Eve -- you always remind someone of Jimmy Smith," jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco said in an interview with Reuters last year.

    "He was the big pioneer, not only of the organ but musically. He was doing things that (John) Coltrane did in the '60s, but he did them back in '56 and '57," he added.

    Paired with jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery in the 1960s, Smith first made his mark as a soloist on Blue Note Records where, as one critic noted, he turned the Hammond B-3 organ "into a down and dirty orchestra."

    Among his best known albums on Blue Note were The Sermon!, Back at the Chicken Shack and Midnight Special.

    Critic Gene Seymour writing in the Oxford Companion to Jazz, said, "Though he was not the first player to bring the electric organ to jazz, Smith gave the instrument the expressive power that Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker gave their respective saxophones."

    The pipe organ had been used in jazz in the 1930s by such famous players as Fats Waller but it was obviously too big and too heavy to be lugged into jazz clubs. Smith was able to take his electric B-3 on the road and created a jazz trio of organ, drums and either guitar or saxophone.

    Smith himself provided the bass lines with the organ.

    Smith initially learned piano at home and then went on to study bass at music schools in Philadelphia.

    He began playing the Hammond organ in 1951, and soon wound up playing in some of New York's most famous clubs, including Cafe Bohemia and Birdland.

    Smith's Blue Note sessions from his 1956 New Sounds on the Organ to 1963 when he left the label included work with some of the major players of the day, including Kenny Burrell, Lee Morgan, Lou Donaldson, Tina Brooks, Jackie McLean, Ike Quebec, and Stanley Turrentine.

    On Verve from 1963 to 1972, he played with Montgomery and in big bands conducted or arranged by Oliver Nelson.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MODZ
    Hero No.9
    Last edited by Col Wolfe; 09-12-2009 at 10:37 PM.
    THERE MIGHT BE ANOTHER CRIPZ AT SOME POINT ITS HARD TO SAY

  • #2
    That's a damn shame.

    RIP The Incredible Jimmy Smith.
    You freeking scientologists are all the same, quible, dribble and then demand ice creams. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

    Comment


    • #3
      Woah.. I remember when I saw him at Jazz Cafe a few years back, he could still whip up a storm on those keys, I remember seeing people with eyes wide as saucers, stunned at watching him play..

      As well as his own huge catalogue of music, he had such an enormous influence on so much of the music we all know and love here, through very many styles and across all continents.

      A true jazz hero.

      RIP.
      Let him have the lot for £2.00 - we were only going to throw 'em out anyway...

      Comment


      • #4
        Genius
        My Mixcloud

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        • #5
          .. yeah. sad news. heard rumours about this all day yesterday but couldn't find out anything solid so didn't post here.

          ... so many classic tracks.
          If you're looking for a pristine copy then this isn't the one for you. The vinyl looks like someone has polished their brickwork with it and the label has been ruined by some fool with a pen.

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          • #6
            Has anyone ever seen that pic of Jimmy playing his Hammond on the deck of Radio Caroline? Apparently, it was so massive it wouldn't fit into the studio so he had to play it up top. You can hear the haddock flapping about as he plays*...





            * Not strictly true.
            http://www.djhistory.com

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            • #7


              Didn't realise he was 79, though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ladyboygrimsby
                * Not strictly true.
                ... shame!

                .. you Grimsby types do like to get a mention of your beloved haddock into any conversation, don't you...
                If you're looking for a pristine copy then this isn't the one for you. The vinyl looks like someone has polished their brickwork with it and the label has been ruined by some fool with a pen.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ladyboygrimsby
                  Has anyone ever seen that pic of Jimmy playing his Hammond on the deck of Radio Caroline?
                  Couldn't track down that one, but I did find a link to the story with other pictures of the event.. interesting!

                  http://www.radiolondon.co.uk/carolin...10scrap60.html
                  Let him have the lot for £2.00 - we were only going to throw 'em out anyway...

                  Comment

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