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Top 10 Jazz Organ Trios

Pat Bianchi

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Jazz organist Pat Bianchi focuses on the dynamic between the guitarist and the organist to provide the ‘Top 10 Jazz Organ Trios’.

As a devout student (and practitioner) of Jazz Organ, I have immersed myself in countless recordings and watched just as many videos of the partnership of Hammond organ and guitar in action (as well as having been right in the middle of the action on stage night after night).

This “match made in heaven” has always been as a symbiotic one, both sonically and rhythmically.

There is a popular misconception that an organist solos with their right hand, plays chords with the left and “kick” baselines with their feet. In most instances, this is actually not true as they play bass with their left hand while using the bass pedals for accents. In fact, it is the guitarist who fills the harmonic and rhythmic gaps (or comps) for the organist and when it is time for the guitarist to solo, the organist then provides the same support for the guitarist. 

Dr. Lonnie Smith with Jonathan Kreisberg at guitar

I consider myself especially lucky (and honored) that I was able to spend 8 years on the bandstand with the legendary Pat Martino. Being a member of his trio provided me with so many lessons both in music and life. Over the years I have been very fortunate to also work with an amazing array of jazz guitarists including Paul Bollenback, Mark Whitfield, Sheryl Bailey, Chuck Loeb, Pete Bernstein, Dave Stryker, and Randy Johnston among many others.

When Bob Bakert asked me to put together my ‘top 10” list of favorite organ trio’s, I decided to really focus on the dynamic between the guitarist and organist.

Pat Bianchi at the Hammond B3

It was a little tricky at first because there are so many great organists and guitarists to choose from. This list, which is not in a specific order, highlights an organist and guitarist along with a recording that really stuck out to me. These recordings and musicians became very influential in my musical journey…

TOP 10 JAZZ ORGAN TRIOS

Top 10 Jazz Organ Trios

Larry Young/Grant Green

Into Somethin’ – Blue Note Records. perfect match up. Swingin, melodic, and both very complementary to each other playing. All original compositions on this recording, most have become “standards.” You can hear Young starting to stretch more harmonically and Grant Green provides a solid backdrop for this to happen. 


Top 10 Jazz Organ Trios #2

Joey DeFrancesco/Paul Bollenback

Snapshot – Highnote Records. one of my favorites, period. There is so much depth in their rhythm and harmony. The amount of interplay is incredible, of course after playing together over 20 years, you’d expect nothing less. Everyone is at the top of their game and they continue to raise the bar for all. 


Top 10 Jazz Organ Trios #3

Melvin Rhyne/Wes Montgomery

Boss Guitar – Riverside Records. Mel Rhyne uses different sounds on the B3 and it works perfectly with Wes Montgomery’s sound in my opinion. My favorite tracks would be “Dearly Beloved” and “Besame Mucho”

For More of the ‘Top 10 Jazz Organ Trios” – NEXT

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