Johnny Hammond Smith was part of the golden age of jazz organ that flourished for about 15 years, beginning in the mid-1950s. His own record label alone, Prestige, boasted such top organists as Shirley Scott, Brother Jack McDuff, Don Patterson, and Charles Earland. And looming over the entire crowded field of B-3 pilots was Jimmy Smith (no relation).
Born John Robert Smith in Louisville, Kentucky, December 16, 1933, he has a mildly musical background: “My mother sang in the choir, my sister and others in the family were musical, but I’m the only one who became a professional.”
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