Thursday, February 23, 2006

Black History Month-Other Musicians Connected With The Organ Trio

In this last article paying tribute to this month, propers are going out to those African American instrumentalists who started out their career or were otherwise were associated with jazz organists.

An organ trio, as we have stated is made up of a Hammond organ, drums and guitar. It might include either one or all of the following: trombone, trumpet or sax.

Some of the organists that we have talked about have recorded solo jazz organ, or in the case of Jimmy Smith or Larry Young, recorded with just a drummer.

It is important to briefly list those of Afro-American descent, some of who have already been discussed. These all are musicians who have performed with in the organ trio format, with one organist or another, not at all a complete listing.

Eddie McFaddin-recorded with drummer Donald Bailey and Jimmy Smith on early Blue Note recordings.

Kenny Burrell-remained with Jimmy Smith and many other jazz organists throughout the Blue Note years, reuniting with Smith in his later years. He is still alive and performing regularly.

Grant Green-recorded with many jazz organists including Smith, Larry Young and John Patton.

George Benson-an early Benson played with McDuff, Smith and many other jazz organists. Still alive and in the past few years has returned to his jazz organ roots.

Wes Montgomery-recorded with Smith and other jazz organists.

Philip Upchurch-recorded and toured with Jimmy Smith towards the end of his life.

Elvin Jones-Coltrane's drummer.

'Jimmie' Smith-not related to Jimmy Smith, played on Larry Young's first CD and has lived in Japan for several years.

Ben Dixon-recorded with John Patton

Donald 'Duck' Bailey-the initial primary drummer for Jimmy Smith

Art Blakey-recorded with Jimmy Smith during the Blue Note Years, recorded on 'Six Views of the Blues', one of my favorite Smith CDs.

Grady Tate-Jimmy Smith's drummer of choice for his later years.

Stanley Turrentine-recorded heavily with Jimmy Smith during the early years and reunited in later years with Grady Tate and Kenny Burrell.

Lou Donaldson-Appeared on several early Blue Note recordings.

Ike Quebec & Jackie MacLean-played on the early Blue Note recordings with Jimmy Smith, Quebec bluesy, MacLean more Coltrane influenced. Quebec also recorded with other jazz organists.

Lee Morgan-particularly noted for the beautiful ballad 'Flamingo' on Jimmy Smith's 'The Sermon'

Woody Shaw-recorded on Larry Young's revered 'Unity' recording.

Curtis Fuller-appeared on early Blue Note jam sessions with Jimmy Smith.

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