This past weekend, Hope College had the pleasure of hosting the Jazz Organ Summit on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9 and 10. The two days were jam-packed with clinics, a workshop, reception, presentation, sound check and concerts.
At the clinic on Friday, the Organissimo group performed three songs and talked to the audience, while answering questions. The three members were Jim Alfredson on the Hammond B3 organ, Larry Barris on guitar and Randy Marsh on drums.
The first song was called “One for Gene Ludwig,” which highlighted each musician and their instrument. They performed without any sheet music and still blended together effortlessly. With sixteen years of experience, they clearly mastered how to stay in sync with one another.
Both songs that followed were just as entertaining. The trio exemplified high energy, large dynamic shifts and a masterful use of syncopation. All in attendance responded well to the performance by smiling, nodding and tapping to the beat.
Most people at the clinic were avid organ players who wanted to learn from an incredibly talented organist. Alfredson spent the majority of the hour and a half answering questions and educating the audience on the organ and the style he used to play. The foot pedals were utilized to fill in the beats for his hands, which he explained while playing snippets of famous tunes to showcase the contrast with and without them.
Murv Seymour, a producer, writer and comedian, stated that there is “no other institution paying attention to jazz organ music like Hope College is.” Organs and jazz music are not highly popular in our culture today, but that thought could definitely be challenged by anyone who came to partake in this two-day event at Hope. Old, young, knowledgeable and curious people all gathered in the Jack H. Miller building to see what Organissimo, The Tony Monaco Trio and Murv Seymour were about.
At a liberal arts school, we should value every field of study, including jazz organ music. The field of music is valuable in every form, as it is something humanity can resonate with as a whole. There does not need to be lyrics for a song to strike a chord within someone; every liberal arts student should understand that.