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Fri, 09.17.1926

One of jazz organs best, Jack McDuff

Bro. Jack McDuff

*On this date in 1926 Jack McDuff was born. He was a Black jazz organist.

"Brother" Jack McDuff was from Champaign, Ill., he taught himself to play bass and piano, though he studied briefly in Cincinnati at New York Tech. McDuff played bass in a trio in the 1950s with Max Roach and Johnny Griffin, then switched to the Hammond B-3. organ.  Inspired by Jimmy Smith, then later by Richard "Groove" Holmes and Don Paterson-musicians who, as he puts it, "swing hard, have good technique and feel good"-evolved a distinctive style characterized by thumping, staccato bass lines, intricate bebop licks and, overall, a more delicate and less voracious approach than Jimmy Smith.

In the late 1950s, he worked and recorded on Prestige with Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson, then in 1960 formed his own group, recording for the same label. Known for his good taste in guitarists, McDuff hired a young George Benson in 1963, and later brought on Grant Green, Pat Martino and Mark Whitfield.  A prolific artist, McDuff has recorded more than 60 albums as a leader, including the jukebox hit single, "Rock Candy." His career took a downturn in the 1970s and 1980s, but recuperated when Hammond B-3 tyro Joey DeFrancesco revived interest in the instrument.

McDuff also has recorded as a sideman over the years with Jimmy Witherspoon, David "Fathead" Newman, Joe Williams, Carmen McRae, Etta James, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Yusef Lateef, Kenny Burrell, Roland Kirk, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Houston Person and Phil Upchurch. McDuff lived in the Minneapolis until his death in January 2001.

Reference:
Down Beat
P.O. Box 906
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Phone: (800) 535-7496

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