Soul-jazz pioneer Jimmy McGriff, a master of the Hammond organ, died Saturday in a New Jersey nursing home. It took a few days for the word to spread to the mainstream press.
McGriff was 72. His prolific recording career stretched from the early 1960s to shortly after 9-11.
James Harrell McGriff was born and raised in Philadelphia, and even served as a Philly cop in the ’50s before devoting himself to the music.
There is a jazz-organ brotherhood that McGriff is smack in the middle of. He desired to learn the instrument after watching Richard “Groove” Holmes. McGriff took lessons from Holmes’s mentor – the great Jimmy Smith.
Eventually, McGriff inspired a young sax player named Charles Earland to switch over to the Hammond B3.
Click here to hear “The Worm,” which was a hit single for Jimmy McGriff 40 years ago.
Funeral services will be held next Tuesday at the Harold O. Davis Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia.