BiographyFunk, R&B, and rock 'n' roll all owe an enormous debt to organist Jimmy Smith. It was Smith who popularized the Hammond B-3 organ sound that made its way into every corner of American music by the '60s. He was also a deeply swinging Bop player, with blazing chops that recalled the great pianist Bud Powell. He could spin out blistering runs of sixteenth notes while simultaneously playing juicy chords with his left hand and basslines with his feet. After gigging around New York through the '50s, he got his big break with Blue Note Records in 1957. In 1963, Smith signed with Verve, recorded a number of crossover hits, and toured extensively. After a decade-long retirement beginning in the '70s, Smith started touring again. He's gone back to his roots, playing blazing Hard Bop and down-home Jazz-Funk. His latest recordings have featured many young, up-and-coming masters.
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