Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith is an NEA Jazz Master

Born James Oscar Smith in Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA. Smith was influenced by both gospel and blues. He first achieved prominence in the 1950s where his recordings became popular on jukeboxes before there were commonly used terms to describe his unique musical flavor. In the sixties and seventies he helped create the jazz style known as 'funk' or 'soul jazz'.

There had been earlier limited use of the electronic organ in jazz (notably by Fats Waller and Count Basie), though these early examples sometimes had a novelty feel. Smith is widely recognized as introducing the electric organ as a legitimate musical instrument, capable of virtuoso improvisation.

Smith employed a unique technique to emulate a string bass player on the organ. Although he played walking bass lines on the pedals on ballads, for uptempo tunes, he would play the bass line on the lower manual and use the pedals for emphasis on the attack of certain notes. His solos were characterised by percussive chords mixed with very fast melodic improvisation with the right hand. He generally used a drawbar registration of 868000000 or 888000000 on the lower manual, which he used for the bass line and comping chords. He used a similar registration on the upper manual, which he used for soloing, but with the addition of the Hammond's percussion circuit.

Smith was a prolific recording artist. He first recorded with the Blue Note label in 1956. His early albums with Blue Note sold very well, improving its financial viability and aiding the label's efforts to promote other artists. They include Home Cookin' , The Sermon!, Midnight Special, Prayer Meetin' , and Back at the Chicken Shack.

Read more

View More Photos

Discography

A Date With Jimmy Smith

A Date With Jimmy...

Fresh Sound Records
2011

buy
Plays The Hits

Plays The Hits

Verve Music Group
2010

buy
Sit On It / Unfinished Business

Sit On It /...

101 Distribution
2010

buy
Three Classic Albums

Three Classic Albums

101 Distribution
2010

buy
Got My Mojo Workin' / Hoochie Coochie Man

Got My Mojo Workin' /...

Verve Music Group
2009

buy
Plays Fats Waller

Plays Fats Waller

Blue Note Records
2009

buy

Watch

Similar

Grant Green Grant Green
guitar
Hank Mobley Hank Mobley
saxophone, tenor
Lou Donaldson Lou Donaldson
saxophone
Jimmy McGriff Jimmy McGriff
organ, Hammond B3
Larry Young Larry Young
organ, Hammond B3
Stanley Turrentine Stanley Turrentine
saxophone, tenor
Charles Earland Charles Earland
organ, Hammond B3
Joey DeFrancesco Joey DeFrancesco
organ, Hammond B3

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.