Cathedral Organ and Solo Percussion


June 29, 2016

Gavin’s Notes:

Jimmy Smith in Paradise

The organ is essentially an orchestra – with its registers of woodwind, brass and strings – but, unlike the orchestra, all under the hands and feet of one performer. Of course, the only orchestral section missing is that of percussion and the unique combination of church organ and percussion that comprises the extraordinary duo Organsticks (Yves Rechsteiner and Henri-Charles Caget) corrects this historical omission. It was commissioned for Organsticks by three different organisations: Toulouse les Orgues, Orgelpark Amsterdam and Orgelfestival Haarlem. I attended the performance in Toulouse.
This piece involves reference to a world where such an imbalance did not exist, that of jazz where the Hammond organ emerged in the 1960s as an authentic instrument within a jazz ensemble, which of course generally included percussion. Jimmy Smith in Paradise pays homage to one of its legendary and greatest players. One of my aims was to achieve the Hammond organ sound on a cathedral organ. Jimmy Smith gives suggested registrations in one of his publications, which I copy here.

All General Electronic and Pipe organs
Swell: Tromb. 16′; Tpt. 8′ & 4′; Diap. 8′; Fl. 8′ & 4′, Pic. 2′
Great: Accpt. 8′; Ten. Tpt. 8′; Clar.8′; Quint; Fl. 4′
Pedal: 16′ & 8′ Vibrato Off

In the event Yves had his own version of creating the Hammond sound for a church organ. which he used.

I was helped in my research by my friend, the great Canadian jazz pianist and Hammond organ player Tony Genge, who had played piano with me, in the onstage jazz trio in Marilyn Forever.

Gavin Bryars