Born James Oscar Smith in Norristown, Pennsylvania,
USA. Smith was influenced by both gospel and blues. He
first achieved prominence in the 1950s where his
recordings became popular on jukeboxes before there
were commonly used terms to describe his unique
musical flavor. In the sixties and seventies he helped
create the jazz style known as 'funk' or 'soul jazz'.
There had been earlier limited use of the electronic organ
in jazz (notably by Fats Waller and Count Basie), though
these early examples sometimes had a novelty feel.
Smith is widely recognized as introducing the electric
organ as a legitimate musical instrument, capable of
Smith employed a unique technique to emulate a string
bass player on the organ