Trudy Pitts

Last updated
Trudy Pitts
Birth nameGertrude E. Pitts
Born(1932-08-10)August 10, 1932
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
DiedDecember 19, 2010(2010-12-19) (aged 78)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Genres Jazz
InstrumentsOrgan, vocals
Years active1950s–2000s

Gertrude E. "Trudy" Pitts (August 10, 1932 – December 19, 2010) [1] was an American soul jazz keyboardist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was known primarily for playing the Hammond B3 organ. [2]



Trained as a musician and a music educator, Pitts studied at the Philadelphia Musical Academy, Temple University and Juilliard, as well as other institutions. Early work experience included a position as an assistant to the pianist in the Tony Award-winning musical Raisin.

At the end of the musical's tour, she was encouraged by her husband (who had worked with Shirley Scott as a drummer) to continue developing her repertoire.

In 1967, the Boston Globe printed a piece calling her a rising star and complimented her drawbar variation, vibrato shadings, and bass pedal work.

Trudy, and her husband, William Theodore Carney II, aka Mr. C. produced and performed at many festivals and venues together; such as The Mellon Jazz Festival Organ Jams (produced by Mr. C. and Trudy), the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, San Jose Organ Festival, Cliveden Jazz Festival, West Oak Lane Jazz Festival. Together they produced the “Jazz in the Sanctuary” concerts. Which featured musicians such as Grover Washington, Jr., Etta James, Houston Person, Benny Golson, and Lionel Hampton. [3] [4]

Trudy Pitts eventually went on to play with Ben Webster, Gene Ammons, and Sonny Stitt. [1] She recorded four albums for Prestige Records, appearing with Willis Jackson among others. [5] In 1999, a compilation album of several records was released as Legends of Acid Jazz: Trudy Pitts With Pat Martino. Recent festival appearances include the 11th Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in May 2006. On September 15, 2006, Pitts was the first jazz artist to play a concert on Philadelphia's Kimmel Center's 7,000 pipe organ, "taking the medium to a whole new level". [6]

In 2008, she again performed on an exceptional organ, this time the Kennedy Center's Filene Organ.

Trudy Pitts died on December 19, 2010, aged 78, from pancreatic cancer. [1]


As leader



As sidewoman

With Pat Martino

With Willis Jackson

With Roland Kirk

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  1. 1 2 3 "2010". Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  2. Trudy Pitts at AllMusic
  3. "Trudy Pitts". All About Jazz . Archived from the original on 2011-10-16. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  4. "Jazz news: Jazz at Cliveden Annual Outdoor Festival".
  5. "Trudy Pitts: The Godmother". JazzTimes . 2007. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  6. "Philly's Trudy Pitts becomes the first jazz musician to play the Kimmel's Cooper organ". Philadelphia CityPaper . 2006. Archived from the original on 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2014-11-29.