An All-Star Tribute to the Hammond B3 Organ

High Street

If there was ever an unsung hero of modern music, it’s the B3 organ. While teenage boys dream of Les Pauls, Strats or that vintage P-Bass, it’s rare to find someone that covets a B3 organ. Still, it’s hard to find another instrument with a sound as recognizable as the hooting, honking, rude coughing and burbling that can emanate from a B3 in the hands of a master.

This compilation features a baker’s dozen of said masters, including such widely-known names as Galactic, John Medeski, and Joey DeFrancesco. Highlights include Medeski’s riffing with the insufficiently-credited DJ Logic, who adds mad scratching and beats to the steamy “Swamp Road,” and DeFrancesco’s “Ashley Blue,” a piece that comes swaggering out of the gate and doesn’t let up until it’s left you in the dust. Mick Weaver’s treatment of “Mercy Mercy Mercy” smokes and smolders between the soulful pyrotechnics leading to the triumphant chorus. Jimmy Smith, often called the father of modern organ, turns in a suave “There Will Never Be Another You.”

There’s hardly a human squawk to be heard here, and that’s as it should be. On all tracks, the trademark B3 warble takes center stage, and by the end of the record it’s clear that though the instrument has millions of moods, it really has only one voice, and it’s strong enough to carry the instrument for the last 65 years, and a few hundred more. In the meantime, a select handful can continue dreaming of pristine foot pedals and rotating Leslie speaker.

High Street Records, Box 9388, Stanford, CA 94309

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

From the Archives