Paying tribute to the queen of the jazz organ: Shirley Scott


Aceves wrote:

The uphill battle confronted by Scott and all different ladies in jazz to be taken significantly as musicians and equals may be seen within the liner notes for the unique launch, that are a typical product of their time and categorical the period’s prejudicial mindset, together with such unlucky declarations as: “Shirley Scott is a lady. On the organ she does a man-sized job.”

That form of sexist mindset remains to be discovered in the present day, and never simply in music. Nevertheless, Aceves factors out:

Shirley Scott (1934-2002) loved a four-decade profession that produced over 40 albums operating the gamut from intimate trio dates to huge bands, exploring bebop, soul jazz, exhausting bop, and Latin jazz.

So be part of me as I discover 40 years of Shirley Scott and her instrument, beginning off with that first album. AllMusic reviewer Richie Unterberger wrote:

Scott’s first album as a bandleader put her on the head of a trio, backed by the rhythm part of George Duvivier on bass and Arthur Edgehill on drums. Whereas she’d already established herself as an organist of be aware in Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis’ band, Nice Scott! was her first out-front contribution to popularizing the organ in a jazz format that additionally drew on components of blues and soul music. She shows admirable command of the instrument’s swoops and funky glows right here, mixing up hard-charging uptempo numbers, ballads, Latin-influenced tunes (“Brazil” and “Nothing Ever Adjustments My Love for You”), and bluesy strolling beats (as on her cowl of Cole Porter’s “All of You”)

Digging deeper into Scott and her historical past, I used to be elated to seek out this highlight piece with two of her proteges speaking about her, and her affect on this NPR Jazz Night in America mini documentary. 

Jazz is taught at universities now, and artists like saxophonist Tim Warfield and trumpeter Terell Stafford educate at them. However they know that jazz is taught extra via listening than studying; extra on the bandstand than the classroom. They usually discovered these classes from the organ large Shirley Scott, who died in 2002.

Often called the “queen of the organ,” Scott was one of several Philadelphians who developed the electrical Hammond B-Three right into a viable instrument for a soulful, bluesy model of jazz. With dozens of recordings to her title, she was already a serious voice when she turned the chief of the home band at Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus. Among the many younger gamers who timidly discovered their manner onto the stage at Ortlieb’s had been Warfield and Stafford — and, in doing so, they received much more than they bargained for.

On this documentary quick, Jazz Night time In America remembers Shirley Scott via the tales of two of her ultimate proteges and bandmates.

Her 2002 NY Times obituary particulars her spectacular and prolific output.

Ms. Scott emerged within the mid-1950’s, the golden age of Hammond B3 organ jazz, with a fast, punchy sound that merged bebop, gospel and the blues. She had a lighter contact than Jimmy Smith, the main organist in jazz, and relied on the blues much less closely than he did. In her teams with the saxophonists Eddie Davis, often called Lockjaw, and Stanley Turrentine, to whom she was married for a lot of years, Ms. Scott produced a number of the most influential recordings within the smoother, extra pop-oriented soul-jazz model.

Her recorded output was nice, with greater than 50 albums as a pacesetter to her credit score, most on the Status and Impulse labels. Her first recordings had been with Davis, and she or he performed with him on a lot of classics, together with his ”Cookbook” albums and the 1958 hit music ”Within the Kitchen.”

In 1960 she married Turrentine and made a lot of albums with him over the following decade, together with ”Soul Shoutin’,” ”Blue Flames” and ”Hip Soul.” Their music collectively was usually intense, however Ms. Scott additionally recorded loads of easygoing tracks, usually together with present tunes and pop covers just like the Beatles’ ”Cannot Purchase Me Love.”

Right here she is with Turrentine enjoying “Soul Shoutin.’”

In 1964 she recorded this reside album, aptly titled “Queen of the Organ.”

After listening to Scott and different jazz organists, I assumed I ought to dive into the historical past of the organ and jazz. One of many extra attention-grabbing essays I discovered was written fairly some time in the past in 1988 by movie and music historian Geoff Alexander. Although he famous that wanting again on his work his conclusions concerning the dying of the jazz organ had been improper, I discovered his part on the viewers and shopping for market to be telling.

Jazz Organ in America

These wishing to seek out good jazz organ data of their favourite file retailer could also be confronted with severe disappointment. Exterior of a few Jimmy Smith discs, and maybe one other by Jack McDuff, the cabinets in new file shops are not often stocked with organ data. Used file retailers usually show to be a bonanza, with many older titles drastically marked down in an effort to maneuver them out, and the collector can simply stroll out with an armload of worthwhile organ data for beneath twenty {dollars}. It in fact should not be this fashion: this magnificent jazz instrument should not be relegated to the cut-out bins and the flea markets, however it’s, and one should face info. The jazz organ is a dying instrument.

One motive for its impending dying is that almost all of file patrons on this nation are white, and the white neighborhood by-and-large has by no means fairly been in a position to embrace this instrument in a jazz or “hip” context. The conception of the organ within the white neighborhood not often goes past organ-and-chimes at Christmas, or “ballpark organ”, or Organ-Goes-Hawaiian, or worse but,gradual, meandering organ accompanying spoken romantic poetry. The closest most of those individuals get to the organ is once they attend “applicable”capabilities like weddings and funerals, and so they (and their youngsters) are the file patrons.

Within the black neighborhood, it is a totally different story. Removed from the funereal aura of the organ present in most white church buildings, the black church has regularly fostered what I’d time period virtually a bacchanalian method to the instrument. In contact the identical manner because the black preacher verbally walks the road between the sacred and the profane, the organ within the black church usually produces highly-charged, emotional, fast-paced,and ‘danceable’ music that bears a direct kinship to jazz and blues. A few of the finest jazz organists started enjoying in church (Fat Waller and Charles Kynard, to call two), and on this dying period of the instrument as a real pressure in jazz, a lot of its finest gamers will discover a haven there. If, after studying this paper, the reader needs to listen to the instrument and but cannot discover a room with an organ trio, I like to recommend going to a black church in Oakland, Akron, Baltimore, or another city black neighborhood and attending a Sunday night service. The organists there are normally fairly good, and sometimes magnificent.

Although he doesn’t handle Scott’s work apart from mentioning that she’s one of many individuals who is a part of the lengthy record of organists influenced by Jimmy Smith, I hadn’t thought-about the advertising facet of who buys what and why. Although I didn’t develop up within the Black church, I used to be no stranger to its affect or its sound. 

Scott’s selection of instrument didn’t appear to be church-related. In Peter Vacher’s Guardian obituary, he wrote:

Scott was born in Philadelphia. Her father ran a jazz membership – or speakeasy as she later steered – within the basement of the household residence, whereas her elder brother was a reliable jazz saxophonist. Initially drawn to the piano, she took up the trumpet at Philadelphia ladies’ highschool, received a scholarship and have become adept sufficient to play within the all-city faculties band,though, at one level, she ran away as pianist with a touring band.

Her conversion to the organ got here when, at 18, she heard a Jackie Davis file; the arrival of Jimmy Smith in Philadelphia was an extra spur. All of a sudden, membership house owners needed organ gamers and, Scott, having discovered the mechanics of the instrument, quickly landed jobs with native bands, as soon as enjoying with John Coltrane in a trio supporting the Hello-Tones vocal group.

When the tenor-saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis wanted a substitute for his combo in 1955, she was employed. The group recorded ceaselessly, one album together with a success blues observe, In The Kitchen. Davis talked up Scott’s magnificence, and hung lights on the organ so the audiences might take pleasure in the best way she performed the bass traces on the foot pedals. She was by no means fully pleased about this gender stereotyping, saying, “All I used to be fascinated with was enjoying”.

Steve Voce’s Independent obit make clear Scott’s acceptance by different musicians, and her angle concerning the highlighting of her gender.

Many individuals thought that, regardless that Rely Basie and Fat Waller had been the primary jazz organ gamers, Shirley Scott was the most effective. Basie definitely did. In1958 Scott performed on the opening night time of Rely Basie’s Bar in New York and Basie was requested to comply with. He refused, pointing on the diminutive determine.”Not after her!”

Aside from her dexterity on the instrument, Shirley Scott made it roar. Her heavy-shouldered swinging belied her small stature. She weighed eight stone.”I suppose if I used to be about 5 inches taller and had about 15 extra kilos in the suitable locations, it would not harm. However I desire individuals to hearken to what I’ve to supply reasonably than ask, ‘What does she have on? Does she have huge boobs? Does she have a giant butt?’ ” Scott moved simply within the harmonies of Bebop and mixed them in an unusually rhythmic model that made a lot use of blues and gospel music.

Since I by no means received the prospect to see/hear her play reside, I’m, as soon as once more, grateful for the existence of YouTube and the jazz followers who add nice music.

This was one in every of our Jazz Organ Tributes from the San Francisco Jazz Pageant.  Shirley Scott had not performed in San Francisco in thirty years!  I additionally had Jack McDuff and Duke Jethro on the invoice. Right here Shirley performs with tenor saxophonist Scott E-Canine Petersen and drummer Eddie Marshall. This was November 3, 1996. 

Lest you suppose ladies enjoying the jazz organ is a factor of the previous, take a look at Barbara Dennerlein and Rhoda Scott jammin’ in Switzerland in 2002 on the Bern Jazz Pageant.

That simply received me up on my toes, dancing across the room and applauding!

I’ll see you within the feedback part for heaps extra soul-jazz organ music and organists.





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