The Ultimate Hammond
Mr. Pete Fallico is a well-known radio personality, concert promoter, jazz organ lover and producer. I first met Pete at the Monterey Jazz Festival when he brought in Johnny "Hammond" Smith for a special tribute evening. One of the organists playing the tribute was Terrell Prude, who had been the organist with Spider Martin before I replaced him in 1965.
True story: Terell and I had never met, and when a complete stranger walked up to him and said, "1965 - Remember Spider Martin?" - Terell jumped like I had just said, "Mr. Prude, I'm from the IRS and...")
After the shock wore off, we chatted and he introduced me to Pete. Some time later, I got a call from Pete, he was doing a series of concerts at a restaurant in San Jose and would I like to play an evening? (You betcha, Red Ryder!)
While I had continued to play Hammond until I came to San Francisco to study Hindustani Classical music in 1968, I had not played a real Hammond since then except for a few recording sessions. I had come to rely on the numerous 'clone' instruments: Voce, Oberheim, and even the re-energized Hammond/Suzuki were playable, but not comprehensive, replacements (and weighed under 15 pounds, unlike The Beast!) But just one evening with the Real Deal again and I realized that my clonewheel days were really a pale imitation. Two months later, I had a real Hammond and was back at it...
The esteemed Mr. Fallico has done more to keep interest in jazz organ alive than any of the players or record company execs. As players, we promote ourselves, but Pete is pushing the Concept, and the Power Of The Beast. This page is for him, and all those who love the growl of the Hammond. His enthusiasm, generosity and knnowldge of the subject make him the Ultimate Hammond Afficianado!
This was the first time I had played an entire evening on a real Hammond since the mid-seventies. Bill Vallaire on guitar played with my quartet, Cookin' With Mr. Dash. Wally Schnalle is a San Jose area drummer that Pete got us for the evening. We had never met, but he had a great feel for organ grooves and everything came off beautifully.
The night Jimmy Smith passed, I heard about it on my way back from a gig. When I got home, I went to the studio, turned on the organ and wrote For Jimmy This is the premiere performance, at the 50th Monterey Jazz Festival.
Judy Blair is a long-time friend, world-class organist and former wife of my drummer, Dino Vera. When she passed through Monterey a while back, we spent an afternoon jamming at The Soundsmith. The volume overwhelmed the room, so the recording quality is terrible, but it was lots of fun.
Dino and David have been making music together for more than fourteen years. These songs are from our album, Crossfire. It may be purchased here.
Pete offered me an evening at Jazz at Pearl's, one of San Francisco's top jazz rooms. I brought in my drummer, Dino Vera, who has lots of experience playing with organ trios, and Bill Courtial, my favorite jazz guitarist. The recording, made by Pete, ran out before the end. Enjoy!
Zytron was an avant garde fusion band on the Big Sur coast in the seventies. We played a lot of original material in odd meters and a lot of jazz standards. Listen to more here.
And so many more wonderful players of this great instrument. Hats off to the Hammond organ, and the man who keeps the players gigging, Mr. Pete Fallico!