April 3, 1936, Germantown, Pennsylvania – May 24, 2008, Voorhees Township, New Jersey
Jimmy McGriff was an American hard bop and soul-jazz organist and organ trio bandleader who developed a distinctive style of playing the Hammond B-3 organ.
McGriff started playing piano at the age of five and by his teens had also learned to play vibes, alto sax, drums and upright bass. His first group was as bassist in a piano trio. When he joined the United States Army, McGriff served as a military policeman during the Korean War. He later became a police officer in Philadelphia for two years, but music kept drawing McGriff’s attention away from the police force.
Later, McGriff formed a combo that played around Philadelphia and often featured tenor saxophonist Charles Earland (who soon switched permanently to organ, and became one of the instrument’s renowned performers). During this time, McGriff also accompanied such artists as Don Gardner, Arthur Prysock, Candido and Carmen McRae, who came through town for local club dates. He recorded a series of popular albums for the Sue label between 1962 and 1965, ending with what still stands as one of his finest examples of blues-based jazz, Blues for Mister Jimmy…
Jimmy McGriff – Blues Jam 2001