Soul Stream

1965 Downbeat Reader's Poll Best Organist

95 posts in this topic

The appearance of people like Basie, Grant and Fischer and so on, and the high rating for Larry Young, reflect Down Beat's customer base. Don't forget that most of the organists we recognise as masters today played either solely or mainly for black customers. The organ rooms of Newark, Philly, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Baltimore etc etc were not frequented by Down Beat readers; their customers were local people, getting in a bit of relaxation after a poorly paid, hard, hard, day's grind, for not very much money. The no cover, no minimum policies of these rooms, and the music the organ bands played, met those needs perfectly. But not the needs of the more typical "jazz fan" or critic, who, apart from Hobsbawm, don't seem to have been very well attuned to the working class.

MG

Nice insights MG. The more I become aware of the working conditions of organ groups in the 60's, the more amazed I am at the ART that came out of some of these artists. John Patton was playing Coltrane-influenced music to working class folks who wanted to hear the bluuuuueeees. He paid a price for that. Read the bio on the JP Myspace blog. He and Grant went seperate ways basically because Grant wanted to keep the clubowners and audience happy and Patton wanted to make a different statement. Hell, JP was working a guitar-less trio with Harold Alexander screeching his ass off! How do you think that went down in clubs?! It didn't, as JP said...clubowners thought the band was going to far out and work became scarce. Guys like Patton and Young in particular were not giving the organ audience what they wanted. As Patton said, Larry Young had a place to play his experimentations since his father owned an organ room in Newark. Patton's trio was up there in Dashikis playing far reaching music...not the norm at that time.

Now THAT stuff is REALLY interesting to someone who wasn't there at the time (haven't got round to the bio yet). I did have the feeling at the time that "Understanding" may have been too far out for the average organ room, but not "Certain feeling" or "Accent", both of which seemed to me to walk very precisely the narrow line between being comfortable and pushing the envelope.

In an ideal world, John would have been able to move out of the organ rooms in the '70s, as they were closing down, into the mainstream jazz venues, possibly pulling people like Don Patterson with him and maybe making room for people like Rhoda and Lou to come back from France and play. I think he would have been more capable of being the bridge than Larry Young - well, Larry wasn't capable. But it ain't an ideal world.

I also never knew Larry's dad had an organ room; which was it?

MG

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It's amazing Patton polled so low. An indication I guess of just how few of those early BN NY USA imprint Patton albums actually sold.

I'm not really sure they weren't selling quite well. I suspect that, before Billboard started its R&B LP chart, in 1965, sales of material like "Along came John" weren't capable of being adequately captured and converted into chart positions.

In that period, Michael Cusuna told David Rosenthal that normal first year sales for BN hard bop LPs were about 7,000. I'm pretty sure that "Along came John" beat those numbers by quite a margin; and continued to sell at a higher rate than other BNs - hence the non-issue of "Blue John", lest it detract from the first LP's sales.

I would REALLY love to see sales figures for BN (and PR) albums for the late fifties/sixties, if they still exist among the BN files.

MG

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In that period, Michael Cusuna told David Rosenthal that normal first year sales for BN hard bop LPs were about 7,000. I'm pretty sure that "Along came John" beat those numbers by quite a margin; and continued to sell at a higher rate than other BNs - hence the non-issue of "Blue John", lest it detract from the first LP's sales.

Does this make sense? If anything, I would imagine that Blue Note would be especially EAGER to release a second album if the first one was selling very well.

Guy

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John was a good selling artist for Blue Note all along I suspect. However, after That Certain Feeling...there was a huge falling out between John and Blue Note. For 2 reasons...one was (and remember this was during the time John was a practicing Muslim) John was very upset that Blue Note/Liberty put a white woman on the cover of That Certain Feeling. The other was John wanted to put his original songs in his own publishing company, BN refused. That's why on Accent, there were none of his songs on it. He let Marvin Cabell write that album. If you read the bio, it explains it all.

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John wanted to put his original songs in his own publishing company, BN refused. That's why on Accent, there were none of his songs on it.

And that might be part of why that was his last BN album.

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John wanted to put his original songs in his own publishing company, BN refused. That's why on Accent, there were none of his songs on it.

And that might be part of why that was his last BN album.

That's definately true. As you can tell by the issuing of Memphis To New York Spirit and the bonus tracks on the CD of Accent....that's 2 LPs worth of wonderful material that never came out.

From the bio...

Not surprisingly, Patton was extremely upset about the situation with Blue Note. "I was going to go with Epic Records," but he was unable to free himself from his contract with Blue Note, and it never happened. As late as 1976, Patton was still bound by contract to Blue Note, though because of his disgust with his situation with them, he refused to record for them again after Memphis To New York Spirit. What followed was a period of disillusionment with the music business that was so great, that Patton went "underground." What Patton means by "underground" is that, "you drop out of sight as far as anything being commercially happening. You're not really on the scene

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The simple fact of that matter is this: Jimmy Smith topped the polls year after year because without him jazz organ would not exist as we know it. He single-handedly DEFINED the instrument in the 1950s. He created the standard. As great as all the others are, including Patton and Larry Young and Patterson and Shirley Scott, they would not exist without Jimmy Smith.

We're talking about influence here. Jimmy Smith influenced everybody that touched the Hammond organ after him. All the others evolved from what he did, but still within the mold that he created. Even Larry Young, who everyone touts as being so far advanced, used the same registrations, especially his lead sound, that Jimmy created. Harmonically he was different, but I'm talking about the physical technique of the instrument. When it comes to jazz organ, Jimmy Smith created it.

To put it more succinctly, what Jimmy Smith did changed the instrument forever. Who else has done that with jazz organ?

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some more from Patton's bio that might shed some light on things...

The inclusion of a white model on the cover of Patton's record, That Certain Feeling, (Blue Note 84281, 1968) was directly at odds with Patton's Muslim beliefs at the time. Blue Note, no longer a small company, but now a subsidiary of Liberty Records, was not sympathetic to Patton's own feelings or beliefs about the matter and went ahead with the cover. Before Lion and Wolff's sale of Blue Note to Liberty, Patton would have a say in the final look of his album covers. The ensuing argument between Patton and Blue Note was heated, and was, presumably, a contributing factor to Patton only getting one more of his sessions, Accent on the Blues (Blue Note 84340, 1969) released by Blue Note at that time.

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Here's some information on how Patton became an organist. Smith's influence seemed to not have much to do with it initially...

The inspiration to play the organ came on its own to Patton, who, unlike other pianists who turned to the organ, were inspired to make the switch upon listening to Jimmy Smith. A portion of one of my interviews on the subject of Jimmy Smith:

JG: Off the top of your head, do you remember the first time you heard Jimmy Smith?

JP: First time I heard him, not in person, but on records was with Lou.

JG: So you were already playing the organ. You had no idea what Jimmy Smith sounded like until then?

JP: Just a little bit. But I mean, to really listen to him and put the album on, and go to sleep with it on, you know. They said, "Hey John, you've got to listen to this cat here, so on and so on." And everybody was talking about Jimmy because Jimmy was gettin' over, man. He had that, they were really crazy...at that particular time the organ bass line...they had to learn how to get that bass line out of the organ. You could always get the highs, but you know...to get them [the highs and lows] together. They were talking about that part of it, you know what I mean. And that really, really sunk in. I said, "Well, I've got to find a way to this [looking at left hand], to coordinate with this [looking at right hand], with both hands, you know."

There were two key factors that got Patton to switch to the organ once and for all, in the summer of 1961. The first was a bit of persuasive talking by his friend and colleague, Ben Dixon, who encouraged the switch. Dixon recalls, " I'd encouraged John to get on the organ because...well, John, we used to practice a lot, you know. And John would walk the piano with his left hand, you kow and he was tremendous. I was saying, 'Man, you should start playing the organ, man. You know...' So I just encouraged him and encouraged him all the time because we always practiced and rehearsed together, you know...regardless of where we were. And so I thought it was a great thing for him to do. [laughs] And the rest is history as they say."[67] Patton reiterates the point as he told Terry Martin in 1986, "Eventually, musicians were saying 'why don't you play organ, man, 'cause you got this good bass line." Of his early influences, Patton told Martin, "When I started to play organ I didn't kow about Milt Buckner, Bill Davis...I had heard Bill Doggett because of the honky tonks. It didn't mean anything to me at that time, I was listening to piano players and Hampton Hawes, Horace (Silver) and Wynton Kelly were my favorites."

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NO!!! While I respect your musicianship Jim, & all related insights/passions, you're falling into common fallacy of historiOgraphy, i.e. the Great Man Syndrome. Listen to Goldberg, who followed it in nearly-real time (just a little lag there), or go through a (blues &) jazz discography (& press) year-by-year until the appearance of Jimmy Smith. I take nothing away from Jimmy's achievements but he was NOT "necessary"... except, as you say, in the creation of Jimmy acolytes, to one degree or another (i don't, however, think Jimmy was Bird-like tho' would listen if you insist otherwise.) That he did exist, of cours, means he needs to be reckoned with BUT... the younger people here need to a learn a lot more about the American record biz of the '50s & '60s before proffering interpretations of inane Downbeat polls. Perhaps a fellow retail veteran like Chuck will chime in but oversimplification does a disservice to everyone.

edc

pioneer days coordinator

pinellas county, florida historical society

p/s: what some people are grasping at-- & again, if you wanna insist that, technically we're mistaken, that's cool-- is that even for the things Jimmy did innovate... they could be copped & synthesized into wide array already extant styles. to me, "Bird-like" means... whoa, fuck! You (anyone) can't do that even if they wanna (& almost everyone of a certain age did.) Now, Bird-- that's as far out as shit gets but to just to clarify the levels of invention we're dealing w/here.

Clem, I'm not talking about what Jimmy did musically; obviously he borrowed a lot of things stylistically from what was going on around him. The same with Larry Young; apply McCoy Tyner-esque-ness on organ... voila, Larry Young.

What I am talking about is Jimmy's technique, his approach to the instrument. Before him, nobody played the Hammond organ like that. The idea of walking the bass lines with (mainly) the left hand, and using the pedals for tapping accents just ever slightly ahead of the beat to simulate the plucking of an acoustic bass, the 888000000 registration with C3 chorus and 3rd harmonic percussion that became his signature solo sound (and pretty much everybody elses after him, with a few exceptions), using 848000000 for bass lines and chords on the lower manual... these are things that other organists before Jimmy did not do and everybody after him did. He changed the way the instrument was played not only in jazz, but in rock, blues, and beyond.

I hear Jimmy Smith in every organist that came after him. Every single one. His influence in undeniable.

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NO!!! While I respect your musicianship Jim, & all related insights/passions, you're falling into common fallacy of historiOgraphy, i.e. the Great Man Syndrome. Listen to Goldberg, who followed it in nearly-real time (just a little lag there), or go through a (blues &) jazz discography (& press) year-by-year until the appearance of Jimmy Smith. I take nothing away from Jimmy's achievements but he was NOT "necessary"... except, as you say, in the creation of Jimmy acolytes, to one degree or another (i don't, however, think Jimmy was Bird-like tho' would listen if you insist otherwise.) That he did exist, of cours, means he needs to be reckoned with BUT... the younger people here need to a learn a lot more about the American record biz of the '50s & '60s before proffering interpretations of inane Downbeat polls. Perhaps a fellow retail veteran like Chuck will chime in but oversimplification does a disservice to everyone.

edc

pioneer days coordinator

pinellas county, florida historical society

p/s: what some people are grasping at-- & again, if you wanna insist that, technically we're mistaken, that's cool-- is that even for the things Jimmy did innovate... they could be copped & synthesized into wide array already extant styles. to me, "Bird-like" means... whoa, fuck! You (anyone) can't do that even if they wanna (& almost everyone of a certain age did.) Now, Bird-- that's as far out as shit gets but to just to clarify the levels of invention we're dealing w/here.

Clem, I'm not talking about what Jimmy did musically; obviously he borrowed a lot of things stylistically from what was going on around him. The same with Larry Young; apply McCoy Tyner-esque-ness on organ... voila, Larry Young.

What I am talking about is Jimmy's technique, his approach to the instrument. Before him, nobody played the Hammond organ like that. The idea of walking the bass lines with (mainly) the left hand, and using the pedals for tapping accents just ever slightly ahead of the beat to simulate the plucking of an acoustic bass, the 888000000 registration with C3 chorus and 3rd harmonic percussion that became his signature solo sound (and pretty much everybody elses after him, with a few exceptions), using 848000000 for bass lines and chords on the lower manual... these are things that other organists before Jimmy did not do and everybody after him did. He changed the way the instrument was played not only in jazz, but in rock, blues, and beyond.

I hear Jimmy Smith in every organist that came after him. Every single one. His influence in undeniable.

Not wanting to deny a word of what you say, Jim, but that has absolutely no relevance to poll votes from the general public who simply wouldn't have known about what was going on there - and probably wouldn't have cared, had they known.

JOS produced an effect using these elements of technique, which was what people wanted to hear. That was what was important, what led to the seemingly endless supply of hit albums, and votes in DB polls. Now, if you say that everyone after JOS, and no one before him, was doing this stuff, that does (or might, if we can assume for a minute that the critics of the day had the same degree of knowledge and understanding as you) explain a little of why a lot of critics at the time held that the other organists were Smith clones. But I still think that attitude unreasonably denigrates what other organists were doing, using, OK, the same technical elements as JOS. No one reasonable would take a similar view of saxophonists as all being Hawk clones.

Further, of course, a fair number of those organists lumped in by critics as JOS followers were nothing of the kind. Hank Marr and Johnny "Hammond" Smith both developed their styles before JOS emerged. Sam Lazar's style, it seems to me, though no one has any but aural evidence for this as far as I know, was based on that of fellow St Louis organist Tommy Dean.

Dan Gould recently sent me drops of two early Baby Face Willette singles - from 1952 and 1955. The 1952 sides are on piano, but one side of the 1955 Vee-Jay recording is a vocal version of the tune that Baby Face later recorded as "Chances are few" on the "Stop & listen" album. On this cut, Willette's organ playing seems to me almost exactly the same as on the 1961 recording. So there's another who developed a style without ref to JOS - in fact, as it says on the notes for that album (or "Face to face", can't be asked to look it up), Willette's style is actually based on gospel organ styings - specifically those of Rev Maceo Woods (whose Vee-Jay single of "Amazing grace" sold half a million and was VERY influential) and Professor Herman Stevens, the Poet of the Gospel Organ, both of whom were working in Chicago at the time Willette was woodshedding.

And although Shirley Scott didn't record until a few months after JOS' BN debut, I reckon there's little doubt that she was developing her style contemporaneously with him (and yes, they probably both heard each other at the time in Philly) and was another who was clearly coming from a different direction.

And there's the evidence of John Patton's inspiration that Soul Stream has quoted.

Understand - I'm not trying to run JOS down - I'm trying to run all the others UP. There is a specific injustice here which is made plain by the vast differences in the numbers of votes in these polls. The injustice results from plain old fashioned hype; JOS was hyped beyond what he really deserved; in economic terms, he was getting rents.

MG

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The injustice results from plain old fashioned hype; JOS was hyped beyond what he really deserved; in economic terms, he was getting rents.

He deserved every bit of it. It doesn't mean the other organists aren't special or deserving either (and really, who cares how Downbeat readers or editors vote?) but his influence cannot be denied.

I love Patton, but despite what he or others might claim, there is a definite Smith influence there in the way he set up the drawbars, the left-hand bass, and the solo sound. Of course he tried his own settings (as did Groove, McGriff, McDuff, Patterson, etc.) but it is based on the combination that Smith came up with.

It's ridiculous to belittle Jimmy Smith because he was popular and downplay his influence. He was popular because he made good music that connected with a lot people. Even today I get folks that come up to me and ask me my influence (or sometimes they just say, "You listened to a lot of Jimmy Smith, didn't you?") and when I tell them Jimmy Smith they smile wide and tell me how much they love him.

He changed the instrument. I can't say it better than that.

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Jim, I think if you read Patton's bio on the myspace you'll see just how he arrived at playing the organ. I know it's hard for us to imagine since we've got a stacks of great Jimmy Smith records to sit down and listen to. But when the first wave of post-Smith jazz organists appeared, they arrived under different circumstances than later organists did. The demand for jazz organ popped up almost overnight due to Jimmy. But the guys who filled that initial demand didn't have the time to sit and study Jimmy Smith records...they had gigs to play! The reason why Baby Face Willette, Freddie Roach and John Patton sound so different is because they weren't aping the style or even the registrations exactly as guys later would do like Lonnie Smith, Leon Spencer Jr, Caeser Frazier and Joey Defrancesco, ect. Here's what Patton had to say about how he learned to set up the organ..

When I was in Washington, I met this musician. His name was [Harold] Butts...he showed me how to set up the organ [adjust the tone], the B-3 and everything."[57] Butts, an organist who was active locally in the Washington area, obviously put Patton on the right track to finding a sound from the organ

I guess my point is, that to me...some of those early guys just didn't have the time to be influnced by Smith's records to a huge degree although McDuff admitted to the switch after seeing Jimmy perform, as did Charles Earland. Larry Young is definatley in a Smith mode on those Prestige sides. Shirley Scott, to my ears, never seemed that under the influence of Jimmy. You have to remember that Wild Bill Davis came up with the idea of left hand bass, not Jimmy. That was already out there as far as the basslines with the left hand. To have someone solo in a pianistic style with the right was going to happen. Jimmy Smith was the genius, like Charlie Parker, that brought it all together. Would Sonny Stitt have happened without Parker? Progress would have been made by someone. I can honestly tell you from asking Patton firsthand, that he did not sit and study Jimmy records. He wanted to sound like a bass player and a piano player. Ben Dixon and others pushed him towards the organ because THEY knew Jimmy Smith was hitting and selling lots of records and getting lots of gigs. Patton says he was already playing with Lou before he heard Smith in a meaningful way.

I think Baby Face Willette is perhaps the most interesting case. He's always intrigued me as he was the first organist after Smith on Blue Note and he was just so different sounding. How much some of these guys got from Smith is a grey area to my ears. But if it's really the SOUND that you're talking about, then even Jimmy struggled with that one for a long time. On Bubbis and stuff like that from a NEW STAR LP, he really sounds like he's using Wild Bill Davis registrations a lot. The first 3 or 4 bars out Jimmy hit on and stuck with is what, more or less, became the sound of jazz organ single note playing. I think it would have happened anyway. It's like a law of attrition that once you sit down at the organ and play single notes...you have to start pushing drawbars in and not out. It's a piano sound, especially with the B3's percussion that came out and conveniently at that time. But the sound of mixing blues and bebop and swinging your ass off....yeah, Jimmy invented that mold. THAT is jazz organ.

I've probably contradicted myself a lot so far. And that's only because the evolution of Jazz organ to me is a constant source of wonderment. How Jimmy and Wild Bill and Eddie Buster and Patton and Baby Face and Johnny Hammond Smith and Larry Young all fit together is quite a puzzle in the soup of immediate huge public demand for jazz organ in a post smith music environment. Jimmy Smith changed it all, but how it changed in real time is interesting to discuss....

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The injustice results from plain old fashioned hype; JOS was hyped beyond what he really deserved; in economic terms, he was getting rents.

He deserved every bit of it. It doesn't mean the other organists aren't special or deserving either (and really, who cares how Downbeat readers or editors vote?) but his influence cannot be denied.

I love Patton, but despite what he or others might claim, there is a definite Smith influence there in the way he set up the drawbars, the left-hand bass, and the solo sound. Of course he tried his own settings (as did Groove, McGriff, McDuff, Patterson, etc.) but it is based on the combination that Smith came up with.

It's ridiculous to belittle Jimmy Smith because he was popular and downplay his influence. He was popular because he made good music that connected with a lot people. Even today I get folks that come up to me and ask me my influence (or sometimes they just say, "You listened to a lot of Jimmy Smith, didn't you?") and when I tell them Jimmy Smith they smile wide and tell me how much they love him.

He changed the instrument. I can't say it better than that.

Yes to all of that Jim, except I didn't and wouldn't belittle JOS under any circs.

MG

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But the sound of mixing blues and bebop and swinging your ass off....yeah, Jimmy invented that mold. THAT is jazz organ.

I started off thinking "HELL YEAH!" But then I thought, well...

These technical points such as drawbar pushing etc are vitally important to musicians, to enable them to perform what has always seemed a miracle to me. But they shouldn't be regarded as any more than the means of developing (perhaps) and (certainly) getting across the musician's vision. It's the vision that's important. That's what the customer is buying. I'm not buying welding skills when I take a trip in a plane - though without them I'd die. I'm buying a vision expressed in music, not skill. And it's therefore as well to remember that JOS' vision, which you've expressed better than I could, wasn't the only one out there. So it isn't all of what jazz organ is. What it is is the MAINSTREAM of jazz organ.

the evolution of Jazz organ to me is a constant source of wonderment. How Jimmy and Wild Bill and Eddie Buster and Patton and Baby Face and Johnny Hammond Smith and Larry Young all fit together is quite a puzzle in the soup of immediate huge public demand for jazz organ in a post smith music environment. Jimmy Smith changed it all, but how it changed in real time is interesting to discuss....

Yessssss!

So, there were other visions out there. Larry Young eventually developed a different vision.

But before that, Hank Marr had a rather different vision (which seems to me to have been shared by McDuff, for a while - while he was with Gator, I think). That was a vision that owed quite a bit to Bill Doggett (and maybe Tommy Dean, though I'm not sure how well known his recordings were outside the midwest). That was a vision of an organ functioning as part of a band that was there to put on a show.

JHS had yet another vision of jazz organ, though he swapped around, picking up a lot of ideas from JOS (and also Earland in the early '70s). But the essential JHS vision owed more - in terms of general approach to a song - to Garner than JOS. (In the same way, Sonny Phillips seems to me to be an Ahmad Jamal man - Phillips did most of his woodshedding in Chicago, I believe.) The music of both Garner and Jamal can be mistaken for cocktail bar music, though of course it isn't. And that of JHS and Sonny can be regarded in a similar light.

All those guys (and Willette, but nuff sed) developed their ideas in the Midwest, if I recall correctly. Maybe there is something in that. But even in the Newark/Philly area, when you think about Freddie Roach, Lou Bennett and Rhoda Scott, you have three more very different visions of how to use the organ in a jazz environment.

In a sense, jazz organ is no more monolithic than jazz itself. Thank God! If everyone really WAS a JOS clone, there REALLY wouldn't be any interest.

MG

Edited by The Magnificent Goldberg

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if we don't wanna use the word "hyped," ok... PROMOTED.

I don't think I want to use the word promoted, Clem. Promotion is the business of people who own things they want to sell. I certainly can't see Lion & Wolff trying to promote JOS by claiming he was so far ahead of the rest that the rest weren't even in the same league. After all, they had a big investment in some of those other organists. I suspect that Creed Taylor, who didn't have a big investment in organists, probably knew damn well there was more to lose thn gain along that route.

When I talk about hype in this context, I'm referring to the critics, whom I truly believe were some combination of: a) lazy; and b) ignorant of the scene out of which all this stuff arose. I believe that, to them, JOS was the "token organist". This does as big an injustice to JOS as to the others. Unless someone respectable like Larry comes along and tells me I'm wrong, I'll stick to hype.

MG

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a sense, jazz organ is no more monolithic than jazz itself. Thank God! If everyone really WAS a JOS clone, there REALLY wouldn't be any interest.

MG

Yes, I think that's the main point I'm trying to make. The general theory that there was Jimmy Smith and then everyone else just seems to make a little less sense the more I learn about jazz organ history. Jazz organists now are clones of at least one of the innovators or the third generation thereof (ie..Jimmy Smith, Larry Goldings, ect.) But back in the day...there was a LOT more originality going on because I think there was just a lot of "shit, I have to figure out how to play organ so I can gig..." A lot of interesting things happened because of that. More general music influences seem to have come into play from piano, standup bass, horns, ect...

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anyone have a month-by-month jazz organ discography handy?

Yes.

MG

(It's a bit big, though.)

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O.k...let's get down to some real bid'ness...

How come nobody talks about Freddie Roach...that guy was a MONSTER. (plus I read he was a great vibes player as well).

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O.k...let's get down to some real bid'ness...

How come nobody talks about Freddie Roach...that guy was a MONSTER. (plus I read he was a great vibes player as well).

He has been discussed here. I think there might be another thread or two.

Guy

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It's clear, from the case of Groove Holmes, that having hits definitely helped. He put 4 LPs onto the charts in '66.

MG, What were the four albums Groove charted in '66?

My guess would be Soul Message, maybe Living Soul, which I first saw in a Pittsburgh store in December of that year, and maybe two PJ releases, After Hours and Groovin' with Jug.

Am I right?

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O.k...let's get down to some real bid'ness...

How come nobody talks about Freddie Roach...that guy was a MONSTER. (plus I read he was a great vibes player as well).

He has been discussed here. I think there might be another thread or two.

Guy

Nice thread that I hadn't seen before. Added a bit. Thanks Guy.

MG

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It's clear, from the case of Groove Holmes, that having hits definitely helped. He put 4 LPs onto the charts in '66.

MG, What were the four albums Groove charted in '66?

My guess would be Soul Message, maybe Living Soul, which I first saw in a Pittsburgh store in December of that year, and maybe two PJ releases, After Hours and Groovin' with Jug.

Am I right?

May Soul message - pop #89 26 wks; R&B #3 27 wks

Aug Tell it like it is - R&B #17 5 wks

Oct Livin' soul - pop #143 3 wks; R&B #3 15 wks

Dec Misty - pop #134 6 wks

MG

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Thanks MG. I don't remember seeing Misty before the end of the year. But I lived in New Orleans, where Prestige was poorly distributed.

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I guess my point is, that to me...some of those early guys just didn't have the time to be influnced by Smith's records to a huge degree although McDuff admitted to the switch after seeing Jimmy perform, as did Charles Earland. Larry Young is definatley in a Smith mode on those Prestige sides. Shirley Scott, to my ears, never seemed that under the influence of Jimmy. You have to remember that Wild Bill Davis came up with the idea of left hand bass, not Jimmy. That was already out there as far as the basslines with the left hand. To have someone solo in a pianistic style with the right was going to happen. Jimmy Smith was the genius, like Charlie Parker, that brought it all together.

this is all important SS except... Charlie Parker is waaaaaaaaaaay beyond Jimmy as an inventor, genius. that's not a fucking cut on Smith but c'mon-- people can NOT play like Bird to this day...

And nobody can play like Jimmy Smith to this day. Many people try, but they cannot play with his feel and fire. If you think someone has acheived that, then you're not listening.

Mike, I know Patton says he wasn't directly influenced by Smith, but I'll bet you anything he heard him. I'm not saying he sat down and learned Smith's tunes, but he definitely heard him. And just today on the way down to Indy I was listening to the Mosaic Select and I heard multiple Smith licks in John's playing.

That's what I'm trying to say. There is pre-JOS organ and post-JOS organ. A lot of people were fiddling with the organ before him, but you cannot deny that he started the organ trio craze and defined what that format sounded like. Again, influence. His influence is undeniable.

As for exceptions like Baby-Face and Shirley Scott; there will always be exceptions. Shirley came from church, and had a lot of that in her playing (I've even seen pictures of her playing left hand bass on the top manual... a common practice among gospel organists). She also tried to make the organ sound like a piano, especially with her very bright solo sounds and her comping. She did some great stuff, I love her playing. Baby-Face came from the church, too... especially his bass sound. That's a whole different bag. Wild Bill Davis and Bill Doggett and their contemporaries were trying to make the organ sound like a big band.

Jimmy Smith was the first to take the organ on its own terms, to combine the elements of the others and approach the instrument as the Hammond organ, rather than trying to make it be something it isn't. And I'm well aware others were doing left-hand bass, but nobody else was using the pedals like Jimmy did, which eventually led to people like Chester Thompson of TOP taking Smith's concept and applying it to funk basslines with much more success than most jazz organists (including Smith). Innovation and evolution.

Smith is akin to Charlie Christian. There is jazz guitar before Christian and jazz guitar after Christian. Smith was a turning point for the instrument.

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