Philadelphia-based organist Trudy Pitts Carney died on Sunday, Dec. 19, of pancreatic cancer. She was 78.
During the 1950s and '60s, Pitts blended her church background and classical training to a classic blues-based organ sound, often alongside her husband, percussionist William Theodore Carney. She also delved into the burgeoning free-jazz movement and performed with John Coltrane and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Her 1967 album Introducing The Fabulous Trudy Pitts (Prestige) also featured guitarist Pat Martino.
She was a major, major artist in the evolution of that instrument," Martino told The Philadelphia Inquirer. She had the ability to take the shape of whatever she was poured intoshe was so good under any circumstance."