July 2006:
Raphael Wressnig

see his biography and discography, click here!

picture of Raphael Wressnig Raphael tells his story
how he came to the organ:

To answer the question "How did you come to the Hammond organ" is on the one hand no easy task but on the other hand the situation is pretty clear: if you play keys and you like Jazz and Blues there are just a few sounds that are present all the time and "really" two sounds that had marks on Jazz & Blues, or let's call it "Roots" music and get all the styles (Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Soul, Funk, R&B etc.) together: First of all the piano and then second and for sure for me, and for many others too, more fascinating: the Hammond organ.
I was playing classical piano as a child and got sick and tired of it. So I started trying to get some music that I liked down and began learning to play Blues and lots of more music just by listening. My music taste changed to Blues, R&B and then Soul-Jazz and pretty soon I founded my first Blues band and then a Soul-Jazz-Trio where I was playing piano and organ and more and more organ. First I played with a double bass player and later without. As Hammond organist of course you don't need a bass player - HELL NO - you can do that on your own: with your foot and your left hand - depending on the style - both at once or just the foot or more left hand - just how you want to sound like.
First I just used the organ sounds of my keyboard and then I pretty soon had a Hammond clone: a Hammond XB2. I had to have something with drawbars and wanted to come up with these cool sounds and wanted to be able to change the sounds! When I was able to afford a REAL Hammond I bought a real nice Hammond BV with a Leslie 122. I started practicing playing the pedals and how to use two manuals. As I had the organ in my living room and it was really heavy I couldn't carry it to my gigs. That's why I used an M3 - while I was still using a bass player and then a portable B3 - yeah, because then I wanted to play the bass on my own and the nice side effect was that there was more money left leaving out the bass player and playing as trio. I kept sticking to the Trio format and now I'm really glad and blessed that I can travel all over Europe with my Trio - Raphael Wressnig's Organic Trio - and other Trios with different musicians including lots of really interesting musicians from all over the world, playing different styles of music: from Jazz to Blues and from Blues to Funk and Soul and a little Gospel.
For me as real Hammond organ lover - and I would go further - I would say "organ maniac" (my first album is called "Manic Organic"!), or the online magazine "Bluesbox" called me "Organoholic" - I insist on playing a real B3 with Leslie and pedals. Just sometimes when I travel to obscure places for Jazz & Blues like Tunisia or Istanbul I'm forced to play whatever promoters provide and sometimes that's an organ clone but otherwise I need to have that growl and that smooth slightly distorted sound - yeah I like that - that huge wave of full, warm sound.
All the best from Austria to all the Hammond lovers out there! Feel free to check out my website and to check out my music samples and my videos! Also a big thank you to Jürgen to keep his great work up and for letting me kick his great B3!! And I hope to see you and talk to you at one of my concerts.
Raphael Wressnig
Raphael has also produced an audio file speaking about his way to the Hammond organ. Click the PLAY button to listen to Raphael !


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