"Brother" Jack McDuff

Jack McDuff

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Eugene McDuff (September 17, 1926 – January 23, 2001), known professionally as "Brother" Jack McDuff or "Captain" Jack McDuff, was an American jazz organist and organ trio bandleader who was most prominent during the hard bop and soul jazz era of the 1960s, often performing with an organ trio. He is also credited with giving guitarist George Benson his first break.


Born Eugene McDuffy in Champaign, Illinois, McDuff began playing bass, appearing in Joe Farrell's group.[1] Encouraged by Willis Jackson in whose band he also played bass in the late 1950s, McDuff moved to the organ and began to attract the attention of Prestige while still with Jackson's group. McDuff soon became a bandleader, leading groups featuring a young George Benson on guitar,[2] Red Holloway on tenor saxophone and Joe Dukes on drums.[3]

McDuff recorded many classic albums on Prestige, including his debut solo Brother Jack in 1960; The Honeydripper (1961), with tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest and guitarist Grant Green; Brother Jack Meets The Boss (1962), featuring Gene Ammons; Screamin’ (1962), with alto saxophonist Leo Wright and guitarist Kenny Burrell; and Brother Jack McDuff Live! (1963),[4] featuring Holloway and Benson, which includes his biggest hit, "Rock Candy".

After his tenure at Prestige, McDuff joined the Atlantic label[1] for a brief period, and in the 1970s he recorded for Blue Note. To Seek a New Home (1970) was recorded in England with a line-up featuring blues shouter Jimmy Witherspoon and some of Britain's top jazz musicians of the day, including Terry Smith on guitar and Dick Morrissey on tenor saxophone.

Decreasing interest in jazz and blues during the late 1970s and 1980s meant that many jazz musicians went through a lean time.[5] But in 1988, with The Re-Entry, recorded for the Muse label, McDuff once again began a successful period of recordings, initially for Muse, then on the Concord Jazz label in 1991.[1] George Benson appeared on his 1992 Color Me Blue album.

Despite health problems, McDuff continued working and recording throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and he toured Japan with Atsuko Hashimoto in 2000. "Captain" Jack McDuff, as he later became known, died of heart failure at the age of 74 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[2]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Jack McDuff among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[6]



  1. Wynn, Ron; Porter, Bob. "Jack McDuff: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-01-07.

  2. Fordham, John (2001-01-27). "Obituary: Brother Jack McDuff". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-01-07.

  3. "Hammond Technique and Methods: Music Written for the Hammond Organ" by JR Whiteley - 2013. York University masters thesis

  4. the late David H. Rosenthal (9 September 1993). Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music 1955-1965. Oxford University Press. p. 67. ISBN .

  5. "Joey DeFrancesco: Comeback for jazz organ". Hanover Evening Sun, via Newspaper Archives. September 04, 1991 - Page 11. By CHARLES J. GANS

  6. Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.

  7. "McDuff For Tour Of Europe". Indianapolis Recorder, via Newspaper Archives. August 01, 1964 - Page 12

  8. "CD Reviews: Dave Specter, featuring Lynwood Slim and Jack McDuff". Blues Access. review by Dave Ranney