CatSynth Video: Katy’s Organ Solo

Another organ solo by Katy. I leave the instrument turned on so that I can practice spontaneously, so every once in a while we get to hear these brilliant little improvisations… often at the most inappropriate times.I should note that her pedal technique is extraordinary, probably better than my own. Think what I could do with four feet!

Posted by Stanley Jackson on Monday, April 6, 2020

Katy performs an organ solo. Apparently, she has been practicing quite a bit.

From Wayne Jackson of Later Days, who is also the founder of Woodstockhausen and μhausen (micro-hausen). See all our μhausen posts here. And check out this video from the 2018 event.

CatSynth Pic: Cat Playing the Organ

Cat playing organ

Cat playing the organ [Walters, W. 438, 15th c.].  Posted by Damien Kempf on Twitter and spotted by astute reader @endlessscribe.

The image comes from a 15th century prayer book in the collection of the Walters Museum based in Baltimore.  From the museum’s digital library:

This late fifteenth-century Prayer Book was made for the Use of Rome and illuminated by followers of Willem Vrelant of Bruges. The manuscript was probably created for the couple depicted in two full-page miniatures (fols. 13v and 103r). The representation of the bride in the full-page miniatures, as well as references to her in suppliant prayers, indicates that the manuscript was commissioned primarily for the bride’s use. Further evidence of this is the prominence of women throughout the illuminations and drolleries, from one who was caught in adultery being brought before Christ, to Veronica extending her veil to Christ as he carries the cross. The decorative aspects of the manuscript stray from the typical border designs of this time period, focusing more on illusionistic Ghent-Bruges’ illumination (post-1475) and less on the Vrelant acanthus-floral borders. Among the number of full-page miniatures, fol. 229v stands out as an exceptional example of an imitation of a late fifteenth-century panel painting.

Interestingly, I did not see the cat among the includes samples.



NAMM 2017: Lowry Electronic Organs

Walking away from the Elektron booth, I espied these gorgeous instruments.

The Lowry Electronic Organs are at a basic level electronic organs with a variety of pedals, organ stops, two manuals, and such. But they also combine a basic synth engine with other sounds, rhythm patterns and more. They have multiple models of increasing complexity. Did I mention that they are gorgeous?

They are easy to play once one knows what the vast array of buttons are for. According to the representative I talked with, these are mostly used as parlor instruments, a statement piece for a living room or music room. But it is nonetheless a real musical instrument to be played like any other.

Dr. Lonnie Smith, Hammond Sk2 (NAMM)

Dr. Lonnie Smith on a Hammond Sk2 organ at the Hammond-Suzuki booth at NAMM.

Once again, the sound quality isn’t that good given the noise in the hall (and the bonus commentary by others in the audience), but it gives a little taste of the performance. This is the “other pole” of my musical experience, with jazz and jam performance, and its always good to get back into it even for a moment.

CatSynth pic: Yamaha Electric Organ

This is a vintage late-1970s Yamaha electric organ that I played at a jam session yesterday evening. I am not sure of the exact model, but I think is a B40 from 1977.

Organs can be a bit of a challenge to play if one is trained on piano and synthesizer. Basically, I just try to find a few settings that work and stick with them. Nonetheless, it was a good session, with talented drummers including one out-of-town visitor. The only harmonic instruments were organ and bass guitar, so essentially we were just a giant rhythm section. And we were able to get some interesting rhythms, including a 6/4 version of John Coltraine’s Equinox, and an extended minor blues that moved freely among different rhythmic styles and pulses while maintaining a beat.