Mar 11, 2013
Hammond B-3 Hero Melvin Rhyne passed away on March 5, 2013 at the age of 77. Born in Indianapolis in 1936, he started playing the piano shortly thereafter. At 19 years old, Rhyne began an association on piano with then-unknown tenor saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk but quickly switched over to the instrument that would make him famous: the Hammond B3 organ. Rhyne's piano skills translated to the organ fluently and before long he was backing famous blues players like B.B. King and T-Bone Walker.
In 1959 he was asked to join fellow Indianapolis musician Wes Montgomery's newly formed trio, along with Paul Parker. They would record off and on for 5 years for the Riverside label, whenever Montgomery wanted the soulful organ sound.
He returned to the organ trio format again and again during his lengthy career, including sessions with the likes of Herb Ellis (Roll Call), Peter Bernstein and Fareed Haque. Click here to enjoy “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm” from his 1994 release Boss Organ. He leads a top quartet composed of Rhyne (organ); Joshua Redman (tenor saxophone); Peter Bernstein (guitar); and Kenny Washington (drums).