Jimmy Smith Dies

Jimmy Smith, who is credited with revolutionizing the Hammond B-3 organ’s use in jazz, died of apparent natural causes February 8th at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., according to his publicist.

Smith, 79, started out playing piano and took up the Hammond organ in 1951. His career took off after appearances at NYC’s Birdland and the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival. Smith toured extensively in the 1960s and ’70s, and recorded for Blue Note and Verve.

Most recently, Smith and his protégé, Joey DeFrancesco, recorded the album Legacy, which is set to drop February 15th.

The duo was scheduled to begin a national tour February 16th.