Thursday, February 23, 2006

Black History Month-More Jazz Organists

That these organists would be included last should not suggest that they are lesser than any of the other ones already discussed. In keeping with the jazz organ theme I meant to post this before I posted that on Booker T, but we'll just run with it.

Larry 'Groove' Holmes was born in Camden, New Jersey, across the river from the jazz organ capital of the world (Philadelphia), on May 2, 1931. He was primarily a bass player who later switched to the Hammond organ without formal training on the piano. Fallico continues to tell us that Holmes was a very likeable gentleman. He was also great friends with Grover Washington, Jr.

Holmes was underrated compared to his contemporaries, but very well respected for his formidable talents and personality.

'Dr' Lonnie Smith was born in Buffalo, NY in 1953. He is still alive and kicking, he teaches jazz at the University of Florida as well as continuing to perform.

He was inspired to play the organ by Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith, especially after he heard Jimmy Smith's Midnight Special recording.

Not to be confused with Lonnie 'Liston' Smith who often mistakenly shares CD space with the doctor at record stores, he is known for the turban his religious practice requires him to wear. You can see several clips of him playing at

Check out the dr's own webpage at

The jazz organists that we have discussed this month is not meant to be exhaustive, but checking out the recordings that are available of these artists would indoctrinate anyone into the medium of jazz organ.

Again, for more biographical info check out


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