James Harrell McGriff (Germantown (PhiladelphiaPennsylvania), 3 april 1936 - Voorhees (New Jersey), 24 may 2008) was a blues-, hard bop and soul-jazz-organist. He was one of the pioneers of soul-jazz, but he also played r & bdiscofunk and other styles. His instrument was the Hammond B-3organ.


[hide]*1 the beginning

The beginning[Edit]Edit

McGriff was born into a musical family: both parents played piano. Starting from his fifth he learned to play the piano, Alto Saxophone, followed later bassdrumsand vibraphone. He was a member of a piano trio and accompanied singer Big Maybelle. He worked for some time at the police, but by the success of organist Jimmy Smith (a childhood friend) he went again with music deal. In 1956 he bought his first Hammond B-3 organ. He went on to study organ in Combe College of Music in Philadelphia and in Juilliard School of Music in New York, and received lessons from Milt Buckner, Jimmy Smith and the classical organist Sonny Gatewood. He was influenced by the energy and dynamics of organist Milt Buckner, the aplomb of Count Basie and local musicians.

The 1960s and 1970s[Edit]Edit

In 1960 he became a professional musician. He had a private combo with which he musicians like the singer Carmen McCraeDon Gardner and Candido accompanied. Often played in this combo (then) saxophonistCharles Earland. In 1961 made his first trio recordings, including an adaptation of ' I Got A Woman "by Ray Charles, which became a hit. In 1962 his first lp for the Sue label followed, on which the hit ' All About My Girl ' was. In the years recorded several albums, ending with the jazz album ' Blues For Mister Jimmy ' (1965). Hereinafter referred to as the label producer Sonny Lester took him to Solid State Record, where he was the most important musician and all kinds of plates was recorded by blues to funk plates (' The Worm '). He played in clubs and concert halls all over the world.

He settled in Newark (New Jersey) and started a private club, The Golden Slipper ', where he, among other things, a live album with Junior Parker in 1971 took up. From 1969 he played regularly with the big band of drummer Buddy Rich, whom he married in the mid-seventies toured for two years. The jazz-musician McGriff took between 1969 and 1971 also a few sheets for the Blue Notelabel, including ' Electric Funk '.

In 1972 pulled McGriff out of the music business and began to deal with horses in Connecticut , but a year later he again toured and made many recordings that came out on the new label by Sonny Lester, Groove Merchant. When the disco mind and the jazz influenced, McGriff showed itself again flexible. He made albums as a ' Stump Juice ' (1975), ' Red Beans ' (1976) and ' Outside Looking ' (1978) which according to critics among his best plates belong.

The 1980s and later[Edit]Edit

McGriff broke around 1980 with Lester. He went he work with producer Bob Porter and Rudy van Gelder and moved to record label Milestone. On plates, he played with Al Grey and saxophonist David ' Fathead ' Newman. In the eighties had its music in the sampler-scene a comeback. From 1986 he successfully played often with saxophonist Hank Crawford, with which he recorded several albums. In the mid-nineties, when the soul-jazz sound did it right, McGriff made again a period of success with it. He formed the group the Dream Team, David ' Fathead ' Newman and including drummer Bernard Purdie, with which he recorded several albums.

Jimmy McGriff has more than fifty plates to his name. He took, inter alia, with George BensonKenny Burrell and J.J. Johnson and played with Count Basiefor example, Wynton MarsalisDizzy Gillespieand Lou Donaldson . As of 2007 he could no longer occur by multiple sclerosis and he lived in a nursing home in New Jersey.

Discography (selection)[Edit]Edit

  • Jimmy McGriff at the Organ, Sue, 1963
  • The Big Band of Jimmy McGriff, Solid State, 1966
  • Cherry, Solid State, 1966
  • A Bag Full of Soul, Solid State, 1966
  • A Bag Full of Blues, Solid State, 1967
  • I've Got a New Woman, Solid State, 1967
  • The Worm, Solid State, 1968
  • Honey, Solid State, 1968
  • Organ and Blues Band, Solid State, 1968
  • A Thing to Come By, Solid State, 1969
  • Electric Funk, Blue Note, 1969
  • Something to Listen to, Blue Note, 1970
  • Black Pearl, Blue Note, 1971
  • Good Things Don't Happen Everyday, Groove Merchant, 1971
  • Groove Grease, Groove Merchant, 1971
  • Black and Blues, Groove Merchant, 1971
  • Soul Sugar, Capitol, 1971
  • Giants of the Organ Come Together, Groove Merchant, 1973
  • Stump Juice, Groove Merchant, Groove Merchant, 1975
  • City Lights, Jazz America, 1980
  • Movin' Upside the Blues, JAM, 1980
  • Countdown, Milestone, 1983
  • State of the Art, Milestone, 1985
  • The Starting Five, Milestone, 1986
  • Blue to the Bone, Milestone, 1988
  • On the Blue Side, Milestone, 1990
  • Right Turn on Blues, Telarc, 1994
  • Blues Groove, Telarc, 1995
  • The Dream Team, Milestone, 1996
  • Straight Up, Milestone, 1998

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