december 2005:
Midori Ono

see her biography and discography, click here!

picture of Midori Ono Midori tells her story
how she came to the organ:

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 Ono

Midori has also produced an audio file (2:12, 1,549 kB) speaking about her way to the Hammond organ. Click on the MP3 logo to listen to Midori !