"They've always classified me as a Jazz organist which I am not," states Jimmy McGriff. "I'm more of a Blues player. That's what I really feel."
With innumerable Top Ten albums to his credit, there is no mistaking McGriff's status as a legend. A master of the Hammond B-3, his renditions of Jazz and Blues classics along with his own compositions like "All About My Girl", "Kiko", "Vicki" and "Granny’s Lane", have made him a Blues original.
James Harrell McGriff was born in Philadelphia, a city known for its world-class Jazz musicians - particularly its organists. He was surrounded by music while he was growing up: his mother and father both played piano while cousins Benny Golson and Harold Melvin were beginning to work on their own musical paths.
Jimmy started out playing acoustic bass and alto sax. By the time he had finished high school, he was playing drums, vibes and piano, as well! At that point in his life, the bass seemed to be holding his interest and Big Maybelle gave him his first steady job working with her at Philly's famous Pep's Showboat.
The influence of neighbor Richard "Groove" Holmes was dynamic though, and he studied privately with him. Jimmy also studied organ at Philadelphia's Combe College of Music and at Julliard. In addition, he studied privately not only with "Groove", but with Milt Buckner and with classical organist Sonny Gatewood.
An A&R rep for Sue Records heard Jimmy playing organ at a small club in Trenton, NJ, offered him a contract and Jimmy was on his way to becoming an international favorite.
Jimmy's arrangement of "I Got A Woman", on the Sue label, made it to the top five on both Billboard's R&B and Pop charts ... and the hits have kept coming year after year.
There are close to 100 albums with Jimmy McGriff's name at the top as leader. He has recorded for Sue, Solid State, United Artists, Blue Note, Groove Merchant and recently for Milestone, Headfirst and Telarc.
In his prolific career, Jimmy has recorded with George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Frank Foster, JJ Johnson and even a two-organ jam affair with the late "Groove" Holmes.
Jimmy McGriff has performed in concert with Count Basie, Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Lou Donaldson, and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band. He also toured and recorded with the great Buddy Rich for two years in the mid 70's.
Jimmy's television credits include programs with Nancy Wilson, the PBS favorite, "Club Date", and some fun with Paul Shaffer on Late Night with David Letterman.
Currently Jimmy performs around the world with his own Quartet, carving his own distinctive organ niche. Incorporating traditional gospel with a spiritual feel, he often teams up with musical buddy Hank Crawford in concert and on records.
Jimmy McGriff has received numerous awards over the years. Whether these accolades refer to him as a Blues master or a Jazz legend, McGriff fans will tell you that he just reaches for your heart and soul with his music and always comes up with a "feel-good" gettin' down sound!
Jimmy McGriff at the Organ 1963 Sue I've Got a Woman 1963 Sue At The Appollo 1963 Sue Topkapi 1964 Sue Blues For Mr. Jimmy 1965 Sue The Last Minute ? Sue One of Mine ? Sue A Bag Full of Soul 1966 Solid State The Big Band of Jimmy McGriff 1966 Solid State Cherry 1966 Solid State Tribute to Basie 1966 LRC I've Got a New Woman 1967 Solid State A Bag Full of Blues 1967 Solid State Step 1 196? Solid State Funkiest Little Band in the Land ? LRC Georgia On My Mind ? LRC Christmas with McGriff ? Black Label The Worm 1968 Solid State Organ and Blues Band 1968 Solid State Honey 1968 Solid State Electric Funk 1969 Blue Note A Thing to Come By 1970 Solid State Something to Listen To 1970 Blue Note Let's Stay Together 1971 Groove Merch. Groove Grease 1971 Groove Merch. Good Things Don't Happen... 1971 Groove Merch. Black Pearl 1971 Blue Note Flydude 1972 Groove Merch. If You're Ready 1973 Groove Merch. "Groove" Holmes Come Together 1973 Groove Merch. "Groove" Holmes Giants of the Organ in Concert 1973 Groove Merch. Dbl LP of previous 2! Supa Cookin' 1975 Groove Merch. (Jimmy Ponder) Stump Juice 1975 Groove Merch. Mean Machine 1976 Groove Merch. Main Squeeze 1976 Groove Merch. Flyin' Time ? Groove Merch. Black and Blues ? Groove Merch. Tail Gunner 1977 LRC Outside Lookin' In 1978 LRC Soul Organ 1978 Pickwick Movin' Upside the Blues 1982 Jazz America State of the Art ? Milestone Hip Hop Bebop ? Milestone Countdown 1983 Milestone Skywalk 1984 Milestone (Rusty Bryant) The Starting Five 1986 Milestone (Melvin Sparks) Blue to the Bone 1988 Milestone You Ought to Think 1990 Headfirst (L. Killian) The Jazz Collector Edition 1991 Laserlight In A Blue Mood 1991 Headfirst Pullin' Out The Stops!-Best Of C1994 Blue Note/EMI (Hank Crawford) Right Turn On Blue 1994 Telarc Crawford, Hank Jimmy McGriff Soul Survivors 1986 Milestone Jimmy McGriff Steppin' Up 1987 Milestone Jimmy McGriff On the Blue Side 1990 Milestone Jacquet, Illinois J.McGriff/B.Davis Loot To Boot 197? LRC Jones, Thad/Mel Lewis Orchestra McGriff(Henderson/Hubbard) Jazz Wave Ltd. on Tour 1969 Blue Note Collins, Albert J.McGriff/Allen Batts Cold Snap 1986 Alligator Parker, "Little" Junior Jimmy McGriff "Little" Junior Parker ? LRC