Shirley Scott, 67, the Philadelphia-born Queen of the Organ" known for her crisp sense of swing, died Sunday at Presbyterian Medical Center after a long battle with heart disease.
Though she spent decades as one of the most visible and beloved members of the Philadelphia jazz community, Ms. Scott, who lived in West Chester, made headlines most recently as a litigant.
In February 2000, she won an $8 million settlement against American Home Products, manufacturers of the now-banned diet drug fen-phen, and the doctor who prescribed it to her. Ms. Scott began taking the drug cocktail" in 1995, and by 1997 had developed primary pulmonary hypertension that forced her to be hooked up to an oxygen tank 24 hours a day.
Ms. Scott came to prominence in the late '50s, when groups built around the Hammond B3 organ were a hot sound in jazz. She got her break with Eddie Lockjaw" Davis, but in 1960 married another saxophonist, Stanley Turrentine. During their 11-year union, the couple had three children and made some of the most influential records in soul-jazz.
Ms. Scott was neither a speed demon nor a show-off. Rather than unleash a barrage of notes, she toyed fancifully with motifs and melodies - even her heated improvisations had a breezy air.