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Dominant 7th #9

Registered: 10-2003
Posts: 2200
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Jimmy Smith has passed away


Maybe this belongs in the "Non-Purple" section, but I put it here because he was by all accounts a major influence on Jon Lord becoming interested in the Hammond Organ:

Yesterday afternoon, James Oscar Smith died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona at the age of 79.

He was not only a vital influence on Deep Purple's Jon Lord, but also set the course for all jazz organ players to follow.

When Laurens Hammond built the first Hammond A-Model in 1935, no one really knew what to do with the damn thing. It was supposed to merely be an electric, lighter weight (that's ironic in itself) alternative to the pipe organ. It failed miserably at sounding like a pipe organ, but in its creation with its fast attack speed, and popping keyclick, a new way to approach playing music was born.

Though in 1935, people still didn't know what to do with it. Big Band was big, and when the horn sections were king, there was no real place for organ.

Jazz organist Fatts Waller tried to make some precursory use of the Hammond, but he played it more in the long sustained chord sense most remeniscent of 1930's and 40's theatre and ice skating rink organ....hardly the stuff that would have made a young Jon Lord jump up and down for joy.

But in the 1950's Jimmy Smith came along and changed all that. He brought a brand new brash sound to this instrument that made the jazz and be-bop world stand and take notice. In a world where black jazz artists were still relegated to the "race-records", and not allowed the recording privledges of their white counterparts, Jimmy no doubt had a tough go of it-- especially in the southern U.S., but he perservered and carved his own unique niche in the annals of jazz history.

With the advent of "percussion" in the B3 model (the plunking, vibraphone sound), he was able to take this liturgical Goldberg device and make it sound like a sweet crooner, a machine gun, a wildcat, a pinball machine, and anything else his imagination thought up.

This was the sound that Jon Lord heard when he was inspired to switch from piano to organ. I believe the Chris Charlesworth book makes mention of the song "Walk on The Wild Side" to be exact, but I'm sure Jon Lord liked many of Jimmy Smith's songs.

Today, there are a number of young jazz organ players who have followed in Jimmy's footsteps, and many rock and blues Hammond players who took the genre crossover from jazz...but make no mistake-- the 8-lane interstate highway of Hammond Organ virtuosity that is enjoyed by many today, would have been little more than a grassy field, if the late Jimmy Smith had not blazed the first trail over 50 years ago.

Ironically my wife and I had tickets to see Jimmy Smith at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland, CA. February 18th, along with young Jazz organ phenom Joey DeFrancesco (who by the way has been quoted as saying, he has been influenced by Jon Lord!!-- so the jazz to rock door swings both ways!!).

I told my wife that she would enjoy watching the master at work, as I had only seen him once before in 1994. As it has sadly turned out, it was not meant to be.

We received a call from Yoshi's Club today, offering us a refund on our tickets, or the option of still going to see Joey DeFrancesco, along with an impromteau appearance of guest Hammond players in a special tribute to Jimmy Smith and his influence on Jazz and the Hammond Organ.

Do I want my money back? You gotta' be kidding!! This is going to be an epic night that I wouldn't miss for the world!

It will probably be a "tear-jerker" and not a dry eye in the house, but I'm looking forward to being a part of this.

Any hero of Jon Lord's is a hero of mine.

Jimmy Smith (1925-2005) R.I.P.
Image

Last edited by B3Burner, 10/2/2005, 2:20


---
John O'Flaherty
------------------------------
"I play the only musical instrument that's more like a piece of furniture." -- Jon Lord
10/2/2005, 2:10 Link to this post Send Email to B3Burner   Send PM to B3Burner
 
Rezi Profile
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Registered: 04-2004
Posts: 16629
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Re: Jimmy Smith has passed away


RIP, Mr. Smith.

The man sure was great.

He was playing here in Finland the last summer but I couldn't go. A couple of my mates did though.

I think I'll go put on a Jimmy Smith album.

B3Burner, thanks for a great tribute!

Last edited by Rezi, 11/2/2005, 6:55
10/2/2005, 8:39 Link to this post Send Email to Rezi   Send PM to Rezi
 
niji Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 1133
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Re: Jimmy Smith has passed away


I just heard it on the radio...
I was going to see him last fall, but it was cancelled because of his bad health. My dad heard him a couple of years ago and he said it was fantastic. He was an amazing player and he truly "invented" the Hammond organ.

R.I.P Jimmy, you will be missed!
10/2/2005, 8:41 Link to this post Send Email to niji   Send PM to niji
 
happy hammond Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 187
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Re: Jimmy Smith has passed away


Played a gig last night and tried to get as many of his trademark licks into my solo spot as possible. I hope I succeeded and we went down well to a full house, so perhaps he was listening.

I'd heard that he'd become quite difficult to work with in his latter years but check out Dot Com Blues - which I think was his last album - superb.

---
I've got two hands, I can play that - Vic Savage, Spinal Tap.
11/2/2005, 10:11 Link to this post Send Email to happy hammond
 
Ovader Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 12-2004
Posts: 288
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Re: Jimmy Smith has passed away


14 years later... I thought if people want to learn more of Jimmy Smith and hear his music then this NPR Jazz Profile should suffice. Jimmy Smith: Organ Grinder Swing
30/3/2019, 11:37 Link to this post Send Email to Ovader   Send PM to Ovader
 
doggone Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 2168
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Re: Jimmy Smith has passed away


Thanks Ovader!
30/3/2019, 11:46 Link to this post Send Email to doggone   Send PM to doggone
 


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