Few artists have done for their chosen instrument what Jimmy Smith (1925–2005) has done for the Hammond organ. His pioneering use of the instrument in a jazz context, as showcased in albums like “Midnight Special”, “Back at the Chicken Shack” and “The Sermon!”, made him a standout figure in the hard bop and soul jazz movements.
With over 40 sessions in just eight years, “The Incredible” became one of Blue Note’s most prolific artists and session musicians. In the 1960s, he signed to Verve and started fruitful collaborations with big bands led by Oliver Nelson, Lalo Schifrin and Wes Montgomery. In the 1980s and 90s, he branched out from the soul jazz stylings that he helped popularise into pop territory — his trademark playing can even be heard on Michael Jackson’s “Bad”.