The Kimmel Center's Dobson Organ: The Inside Story
Why all this time, money, and effort to construct a single musical instrument? What the Kimmel hopes to get from its chosen maker, Mr. Lynn Dobson, along with his extraordinary knowledge and craftsmanship, his crew, and his worldwide purchase of organ parts, is a state of the art instrument that will project a stunning variety of sounds with a magnificent range of dynamics, from whispering pianissimos to hall-vibrating triple fortes. In addition, it will be incredibly and instantly responsive to the musician who performs on it. And, finally, it will have advanced computer technology that allows it to be pre-programmed in a variety of ways and to "record the performance like a piano roll for later playback. In other words, it will bring an entire new dimension of sound and music-making to the concert hall. In addition to orchestral, solo, and small group performances, the Kimmel is planning (just for the fun of it, one supposes) a series of silent film showings and puppet shows where the background music will be performed on the new organ. The instrument, still in the installation process, is to be debuted in May of 2006, after the delivery and fitting of another round of pipes that will be delivered from Dobson's factory in Lake City, Iowa to Philadelphia in a "semi tractor trailer. The word "huge summarizes everything about this project.
Just in case you think that jazz organ is the province of a few select keyboardists like Jimmy Smith and Joey De Francesco, I'll wrap up this article with a list of the better known jazz organists from the on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia. The Dobson Organ is not an instrument one can stick in the back of a van, but there are plenty of keyboardists, past and present, who might tackle its formidable pipes.
They include: Adam Scone; Alberto Marsico; Amina Claudine Myers; Arno Krijger; Baby Face Willette; Barbara Dennerlein; Big John Patton; Bill Doggett; Bill Heid; Brian Auger; Bruce Katz; Carla Bley; Carlo de Wijs; Charles Earland; Charles Kynard; Daisuke Kawai; Dan Wall; Daniel Thouin; Denis Keldie; Dieter Reith; Dirk Van der Linden; Doc Bagby; Don Paterson; Don Pullen; Mac "Dr. John" Rebbenack; Eddie Bacchus; Eddie Landsberg; Eddy Louiss; Emmanuel Bex; Ethel Smith; Fats Waller; Freddie Roach; Gene Ludwig; Georgie Fame; Glen Hardman; Greg Hatza; Herbert Noord; Ingfried Hoffmann; Jack McDuff; Jackie Davis; Jackie Ivory; James Taylor; Jasper Van't Hof; Jeff Palmer; Jimmy McGriff; Jimmy Smith; Joe Bucci; Joe Zawinul; Joey DeFrancesco; John Medeski; Johnny "Hammond" Smith; Jon Hammond; Karen Mantler; Keith Jarrett; Ken Clark; Kjeld Lauritsen; Kjell Oehmann; Klaus Wunderlich; Larry Goldings; Larry Young; Lonnie Gasperini; Lonnie Smith; Lou Bennett; Lucky Peterson; Matthias Baetzel; Mauri Sanchis; Melvin Rhyne; Merl Saunders; Micky Tucker; Midori Ono; Mike Carr; Mike LeDonne; Milt Buckner; Paolo Negri; Paul Flush; Paul Wagnberg; Pierre Swaerd; Reuben Wilson; Rhoda Scott; Richard Groove Holmes; Rick Allen; Ron Levy; Sam Yahel; Shirley Scott; Sir Charles Thompson; Stefan Patry; TC Pfeiler; Tim Neal; Tom Coster; Tony Monaco; Trudy Pitts; Walter Wanderley; Wayne Horvitz; Wild Bill Davis; Wojciech Karolak.
To name but a few!!! Jazz organ is here to stay. And so is the Dobson organ at the Kimmel Center. May the two meet in musical harmony!