Award-winning American jazz organist JIMMY SMITH has died at the age of 79.

The legendary musician was renowned for helping revolutionise the sound of jazz using the electric riffs of the Hammond B-3 organ and blended jazz, blues, R+B and gospel into a new format labelled 'soul jazz'.

Smith's most famous albums include THE SERMON and MIDNIGHT SPECIAL.

National Endowment For The Arts chairman DANA GIOIA says, "Jimmy Smith transformed the organ into a jazz instrument.

"Jazz has lost a pioneering talent, not to mention a one-of-a-kind personality."

Fellow Hammond B-3 artist JOEY DeFRANCESCO adds, "Jimmy was one of the greatest and most innovative musicians of our time."

10/02/2005 17:47