I had been learning the Yamaha electone by my parents' recommendations since
I was a child. I loved playing it so I practiced a lot, however, just by
playing written music, you don't know about jazz or a Hammond organ.
When I was 11, and wanted to buy a new organ, my father said that because the
Hammond organ had a good sound, we bought one called the Commodore. I
started going to a Hammond organ school, and started listening to jazz organ
records, which is when I first heard of the B-3. The B-3 at that time, had
no schools, or stores where the B-3 was sold, and because of my attraction
to its sound quality, I always thought of playing it someday.
When I was a high school student, I won the championship in a Hammond organ contest in
Japan. The extra prize was a trip to the western part of the US, where I was
invited to the Namm Show in Los Angeles, which was my first time having the
chance to play before an American audience. However, I, who had faithfully
played arranged music found it quite a shock to see other players playing
the organ freely and ad-libbing, which is why I really had an urge to study
jazz. I entered the Department of Commercial Science in Kyoto at Doshisha
University, and entered the light music group, and started a jazz band. I
devoted my time to studying and practiced everyday, and I developed a
strong happiness in ad-libbing.
When I was 20, I met an American who came to Japan that played the jazz organ.
I saw for the first time before my own
eyes the bass being played with the left hand, and it was really exciting.
"This groove is really cool." I thought. I felt my musical instrument was a
different musical instrument. For a while, I took lessons from him, and the
style I used to play the organ had dramatically changed. However, since the
B-3 was so expensive, I was unable to get my hands on one, and since I
didn't know a jazz club that carried one, after graduating I acted as a
pianist for most of the time. Before I knew it, I felt like being a pianist,
and my time practicing the organ had decreased.
At that time, when I was 23, I saw Jimmy Smith's performance for the first time,
which it what gave me the urge to return to the organ. I was overwhelmed by the power of such a
dynamic organ, and that was my decision. I'm going to study the organ
thoroughly. From that point, I dreamed of performing like Jimmy Smith, and
began performing and carrying a combo organ, and I knew of a jazz club that
where the B-3 could be found in Osaka, where I actively participated in jam
sessions. At that time, I met Mr. Yamamoto, the president of YS Corporation,
a specialty organ shop in Osaka, and he promoted me as an organist and
provided me with various shows. When I was 27, my wish came true when I
finally got a B-3, and this time, my dream of performing as jazz organist in
the United States was able to be accomplished again. After giving birth two
years ago, my performances decreased a bit. I was swiftly running through my
20's, living for myself, and I feel if you have time to give a working life
for someone, including my child, and make the best of this experience, I
think it would great if you could play rich music by one's forties.
Midori has also produced an audio file speaking about his way to the Hammond organ. Click the PLAY button
to listen to Midori !