August 2007:
Steinar Nickelsen

see his biography and discography, click here!

picture of Steinar Nickelsen Steinar tells his story
how he came to the organ:

I'm a jazz organ player from Norway, currently living in København. I'm here to talk about my approach to the Hammond organ.
I've been playing Hammond for 15 years now, after having started on piano. It was rock music that got me into Hammond, I was very into 70's rock bands like Deep Purple and Emerson/Lake/Palmer, then I found out that the organ could sound like a distorted guitar, which was very useful when playing rock. Later, I got pointed towards jazz, and I have been playing most jazz ever since.
I like playing different styles of music, and I have always been thinking that it is possible to play every kind of style on the Hammond. I was always a bit surprised to see that especially in the case of the Hammond, the instrument is so linked to a specific style of playing. I understand why it is that way, but I always thought that it should be possible to play whatever style you wanted on this instrument. I was more interested in the jazz tradition and music tradition in general, than just the tradition of the Hammond organ. So because of this I have been in bands playing free-jazz, improvised music, modal jazz, brasilian bossa nova, and of course, contemporary jazz music.
In some of my bands I also combine one of my other interests, which is analogue synthesizers. In the band "Jupiter" I use a Minimoog on top of the my B-3. I then route the signal through the preamp into the organ so I get a very homogenic sound from this setup out of the Leslie. It sounds just like the Minimoog is a part of the organ, but capable of making some unexpected sounds. Listen here for a sample. [MP3 link at the bottom]
This also makes an opportunity to orchestrate more, to play one sound with the organ, and another on the Moog against each other. It's like on a big church organ where you can have three or more manuals with different sounds. It's probably because I have also played some church organ that got me thinking of the need of a 3rd manual on the Hammond. It makes some nice possibilities. But it also makes me appreciate when I'm only playing the Hammond, because then it feels more "acoustic", and I prefer this when I'm playing more traditional jazz.
As I said, I've also played some church organ. I find it very suitable for improvising and playing modern music. Especially on a big organ, you can get some amazing sounds. I think it is very different from the Hammond organ, but it is possible to bring the same approach. You can listen to how it sounds when a jazz musician plays the church organ on my web site (www.hammond.no).
I sometimes also like to play avantgarde music. And the contrast between something melodic and something far out can be very nice. Here I have a sample recorded at a concert, it's an intro I played to one of my tunes. I have the Minimoog on top of the organ here which helps me to get the far out feeling. You can hear some of my music at my website, which you can find at www.hammond.no
Finally, I would like to thank you for your attention, and a special thanks to Jürgen for his work for the International Archives for the Jazz Organ.
Steinar Nickelsen
Steinar has also produced an audio file speaking about his way to the Hammond organ. Click the PLAY button to listen to Steinar !


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