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Friday, November 26, 2010

Ok, Mr. Anchovy.....You asked for some Hammond B3.....let's start with this :)

Well, I've got a lotta music featuring Hammond playing.....I think I'm going to posting a bit. Not quite sure the order I'm going (Bass ackwards as ever, hereabouts). But, I think I'll start with someone that you don't hear about much....Trudy Pitts.

When I was a kid, I picked up this LP, "Bucket full of Soul" at a yard sale.  It was relased in about 1968, and it totally blew me away. I thought her playing was pretty unusual and different. I could really hear the classical training in her jazz playing.  I was first thinking of her when you mentioned the B3. The LP is in petty bad shape, so uploading it wouldn't have been much of a listen for anyone. However, I do have some other stuff that she released, and her recorded output isn't I'm going to post what I have.
Here's pics and bio to start us off:

Trudy Pitts (born 1933) is a soul jazz keyboardist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is known primarily for her skill with the Hammond B3 organ.
She is married to Bill Carney (born 1925), known to most as Mr. 'C'. He often joins her on the drums.
In 1999, the Prestige label remastered a couple of her discs from the 1960s into a single compact disc, Legends of Acid Jazz, Trudy Pitts & Pat Martino. She also accompanies Pat Martino on the Prestige Rudy Van Gelder re-issue El Hombre.
On September 15, 2006 Ms. Pitts was the first jazz artist play a concert on Philadelphia's Kimmel Center's 7,000 pipe organ, "taking the medium to a whole new level".

A nice article that I found online:

January/February 2007

Trudy Pitts: The Godmother

Mention the pipe organ and the average person is more likely to think of Bach than bebop. Mozart called the pipe organ “The King of Instruments”; composers from Sweelinck to Messiaen wrote for it—including, most famously, J.S. Bach himself. Perhaps no other instrument is as exclusive to the European classical tradition. Certainly its use in jazz has been limited. Aside from Fats Waller in the ’30s, few musicians have attempted to make the wind-blown behemoth swing. Its sluggish response is something of a hindrance when it comes to playing music requiring split-second timing—and no music depends on split-second timing more than jazz. Of course, jazz musicians typically make a practice of finding novel solutions to difficult problems. The folks who run Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts obviously understood that. Last year they decided they wanted someone to play jazz on their new Dobson pipe organ, the largest concert organ in the United States. Their search for a musician willing and able to meet the challenge quickly centered on one person: a hometown hero, Philly native Trudy Pitts.

A gifted organist, pianist and vocalist, Trudy Pitts is a product of the same fertile local jazz scene that produced John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Lee Morgan and Benny Golson, among many others. She might not be as well-known as some—her husband, manager and musical partner, drummer/vocalist Bill “Mr. C” Carney, calls her “the best-kept secret in jazz”—but she can play with the best of them. Trudy’s style is a compelling blend of earthiness and sophistication. She plays the funkiest ideas with the fine touch of a concert pianist and a liquid swing that would do Basie proud. Consider that she has more than 50 years of experience playing with some of the finest jazz musicians around (Coltrane, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Pat Martino to name just a few), plus an extensive background in classical music. It makes sense that the Kimmel Center would choose her to put their organ through its paces.
Ms. Pitts grew up in a musical family. Her mother and two older sisters played piano. Trudy couldn’t wait to get in on the fun, and started piano lessons at age 6. It wasn’t long before Trudy began playing in church, where she had her first encounter with a pipe organ. “I started being a Sunday school piano player, back in the day,” she says in her warm, gracious manner, “when my church moved to a larger building that had an organ. They asked if I would like to take organ lessons. At that time I was about 12 or 13, and I was excited!” she laughs. “Of course I would!”
Trudy eventually settled on a career in music. She studied classical music at several colleges and conservatories, including Juilliard. Among her early professional experiences was a stint in the pit orchestra on tour with the Tony Award-winning musical “Raisin.” She also worked around Philadelphia as a solo pianist and vocalist. Playing jazz wasn’t on the agenda. “All of my training was classical,” she says. “I wanted to be a concert pianist.” Things changed in 1955 when she met her future husband. Mr. C fronted a band called the Hi-Tones, which at the time included both Coltrane and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath. Mr. C needed an organ player to replace the one he’d just lost—the estimable Shirley Scott.
“Mr. C went to the musicians union here in Philly and got some recommendations,” says Trudy. “I was one of them. Not that they’d heard me do jazz, because I had hardly done any jazz.” The Hammond B3 was new to her, as well. “Here was another challenge in my face, to play another kind of instrument.” She’d heard a lot of jazz around her house. Her older siblings were jazz fans; Trudy herself greatly admired Erroll Garner, but she’d received no instruction in playing the music. “I’m not saying that I didn’t experiment with it when my ear began to be awed by it, but all of my training was in the classics.” As it turned out, her classical studies helped with her jazz playing, especially in terms of harmony. “I didn’t have to study chords because, with my knowledge of what the 88 can do, and my hearing—I had perfect pitch—I could deal with chord changes,” she says. “What a blessing that was! If I heard a song on the radio I could just sit down and play it.” Although Trudy didn’t get the gig on a permanent basis, Mr. C took her under his wing. The couple began a musical—and later, personal—relationship that continues to this day.
Trudy and Mr. C married in 1958, and began playing together full-time that same year. The couple worked steadily after that—not just in Philly, but around the world, thanks largely to a long-term gig on a cruise ship, the S.S. France. In 1967, she recorded her first albums, Introducing the Fabulous Trudy Pitts and These Blues of Mine, both for Prestige. They had two children, a son and a daughter, who accompanied their parents on their travels. “I was their tutor on the road. Their teachers would give me work to take with me, and we would do it, and I enjoyed the daylights out of it!” she says. Raising a family on the road wasn’t easy. “There’s a lot of stress involved in that, because you have to arrange for education, for safety, for closeness with the family; finding someone to help take care of the kids while you’re working. You have to be confident that everything is in order. It always seemed to work out, though, even if I had to take them to work with me.” Eventually they had to cut down on the traveling, “because of the schooling and other things,” Trudy says. “I had to slow it down in terms of being away as much.” More than ever, Philadelphia became their home base. Over the years, Trudy continued to perform, teach and record. She and Mr. C are local institutions, “The Godparents of Philly jazz.”
The concert at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall was scheduled for Sept. 15, 2006. Trudy was to play the first half with a quartet that would include Tim Warfield on tenor sax, Bob DeVos on guitar and Mr. C on drums; singer Nancy Wilson would play the second half. For Trudy, it was a special opportunity. It was also a tall hill to climb.
In order to prepare, Trudy had access to the organ during the month of August. Unfortunately, the technicians who might’ve helped were on vacation, so Trudy essentially had to learn the complex system of manuals, pedals and stops on her own. She was consulting with the engineer right up until curtain time. “I didn’t have a rehearsal with my sidemen until the day of the performance. A lot of stuff was going on.” Yet despite the magnitude of the challenge (or perhaps because of it), the evening was memorable for all the right reasons. “Everything went almost as well as I would have it go,” she says. “I got a standing ovation—I got ovations after the tunes, in the middle of tunes! It was very refreshing, very encouraging.”
The concert was one of the latest challenges in a career that’s had its fill. “I can’t even begin to tell you all the different ways I’ve gone. You do what you have to do, what’s presented to you,” she says. “You make the best of it, and that’s what I did. It was exciting at every level of my career in music.” Ultimately, drive and curiosity sustained her, helping her become a more complete artist. “I was hell-bent on being as total a musician as I could be,” she says. “Sometimes that means you have to be open to different attitudes, to different environments and vibes. I never had a problem doing that.” It’s the kind of philosophy that allows a person to do the impossible: In Trudy’s case, that includes making a 32-ton pipe organ swing. “Yeah, ain’t that deep?” she says. “I’m still wondering how I was able to do it. But it did happen to an extent, even though it wasn’t the same feeling as with a Hammond. It ain’t nothing you can relate to anything else. It was different, but I enjoyed the daylights out of it!”

Recommended listening
Despite its confusing title and corny psychedelic cover art, Legends of Acid Jazz: Trudy Pitts with Pat Martino (Prestige, 1998) is a fine reissue that includes Pitts’ two 1967 leader LPs, Introducing the Fabulous Trudy Pitts and These Blues of Mine. A solo piano set, Me, Myself and I, is available at

And, here's what I have: (Maybe, if I can find a source of "Bucket full of soul" in good shape, I'll get a copy of it up soon) 

Steppin' in Minor 
Spanish flea
Music to watch girls by
Something wonderful
Take Five
It was a very good year
Night song
Feelin' it (live)
Matchmaker (live)
When lights are low (live)
Jitterbug waltz (live)
Mean perspective (live)
Amazing grace (live)
Autumn leaves (live)
Make someone happy (live)


  1. Great post - I studied with Trudy. I may have a source for you for Bucket Full of Soul to add to this - it's not available anywhere other than vinyl these days.

  2. Oh, I'd love that! It is an excellent LP. I fell in love with it as a kid. WOW! you studied with Trudy?? how f*cking cool is that?? She's an amazing player. I wanted to post some of her to let people hear just how great she is....and having a clean file of that LP would be excellent. Mine was used when I got it, and I wore it out years ago. Thanks!!

  3. Damn - no go. I do have the title track, but not the rest. Do you still have that LP? It's one of the rarest in the land, for certain...I'd love to hear even a crappy version of it. It sells for up to $300! Pop me an email..I'll send it.

  4. Just realized - not sure if you know. She passed away on Sunday, after a battle with Pancreatic Cancer. She kicked ass and took no names.

  5. No, I didn't know that. I am so sorry to hear she passed.

  6. I'm gonna look down in the basement, today. I think I do still have it. Trust me, it's in bad shape. If I can find it, I will make as clean a copy as I can and really is an amazing LP.

  7. Hey Barberella, I like your blog a lot, eclectic & tasteful, good Trudy Pitts tribute too. You've been linked to mine... HERE

  8. You're blog is excellent, too. I'm linking to you, also. Oh, I know who'll love your page, too: MrAnchovy= He was the one who originally requested some Hammond B3 on here, back in November :)

  9. FOUND: Trudy's next 2 LPs on Prestige!

    "A Bucketful Of Soul" with Mr. C


    "The Excitement of Trudy Pitts (Recorded Live! at Club Baron)"

    both from 1968, thanks to this guy!

    Check out his site, SUN SHIP = V. hip!