Legendary Jazz Organist Jack McDuff passed away January 24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the age of 74. Mr. McDuff died of an apparent heart attack while convalescing from a series of small strokes he had suffered in recent months.
McDuff’s recording and performing career spanned more than 40 years and included stops at the most famous labels in jazz, beginning with Prestige in 1960 and ending at Concord Jazz, where his last album still awaits release. One of the funkiest and most soulful of the B-3 organists, McDuff worked with many big names in jazz and blues including Sonny Stitt, Yusef Lateef and Etta James. He was considered an innovative arranger and a talent scout who recruited for his band such players as George Benson, Grant Green, Dave Stryker and Joe Lovano.
Alternately known as Brother Jack McDuff and later Captn’. Jack McDuff, he was close to artists of the groove-jazz genre. He credits Jimmy Smith with his conversion from bass violin to organ in the late 1950’s.
“Jack McDuff gave me the most important foundation for communicating my music to others. He pointed out the elements that are universally common to us all. I owe a great deal of my success to the man we know as Brother Jack McDuff ” said George Benson on the news of Jack’s passing.
McDuff is survived by his wife, Kathy Ann McDuff and stepchildren, Lisa and Ricky Johnson.