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Friday, February 11, 2005

San Diego Union Tribune > Jazz Organist Jimmy Smith dies at 79

San Diego Union Tribune

Jazz organist Jimmy Smith dies at 79


5:11 p.m. February 9, 2005

Associated Press
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Jimmy Smith, an award-winning jazz organist who was considered a pioneer with the instrument, has died of natural causes at his home. He was 79.

Smith's death Tuesday in Scottsdale was announced by officials at Concord Records.

"Jimmy Smith transformed the organ into a jazz instrument. Jazz has lost a pioneering talent, not to mention a one-of-a-kind personality," National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia said Wednesday.

Born in Norristown, Pa., in 1925, Smith ruled the Hammond B-3 organ in the 1950s and 1960s, fusing R&B, blues, and gospel influences with bebop references.

Smith's sessions with record label Blue Note from 1956 to 1963 included collaborations with Kenny Burrell, Lee Morgan, Lou Donaldson, Tina Brooks, Jackie McLean, Ike Quebec and Stanley Turrentine. He started playing the Hammond organ in 1951.

"Jimmy was one of the greatest and most innovative musicians of our time," said fellow Hammond B-3 artist Joey DeFrancesco.

The two recently recorded an album together called Legacy, which is scheduled to be released next week.

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