Yet another jazz great in the Valentine catalogue.
Awarded the highly-coveted ‘American National Endowment for the Arts, Jazz Masters Award’ in 2005, Jimmy Smith was a truly outstanding jazz musician who revolutionised the use of the electric organ with his virtuoso improvisations.
Born in 1925, Smith became a star of the ’50s jazz scene: signed up to the famous Blue Note label in 1956, he recorded over 40 sessions in just eight years, clocking up a succession of notable albums. After signing to Verve Records in 1962, Smith collaborated with Wes Montgomery on two albums, The Dynamic Duo and Further Adventures of Jimmy and Wes. Other key works from this period include ‘The Boss’ with George Benson, ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Got My Mojo Workin’and the funky ‘Root Down’.
Over the years to come, Smith would record prolifically with a host of jazz icons including Grant Green, Stanley Turrentine, Lee Morgan and Lou Donaldson, as well as with luminaries like Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Joey DeFrancesco. Smith’s last major album, Dot Com Blues (Blue Thumb, 2000), featured yet more A-list special guests including Dr. John, B.B. King and Etta James.
Jimmy Smith, who died in 2005, was a master of the Hammond B3 organ who popularised the instrument’s use in jazz, blues and beyond. His pioneering style and musicianship helped sow the seeds of the acid jazz movement and ensured him a legendary place in the history of music.