Delving Into the Deep Blue
Rockingham adds, "When we were on the opening tour for Steely Dan, that was one of the first times that I realized that Chris never gives in to his disability. He never does. At times I take things for granted, and I realize that sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, he is at the mercy of someone else. He can't control someone else's feelings or ideas or time schedule or whatever. I've learned from him, seeing what he does, seeing how he gets around."
Foreman continues, "We learn from each other. I will say I don't understand this and that and Greg will explain. It's good to have those talks, with really everybody, because say you have to play that night and something's bothering you. You say, 'What's going on? I don't understand.' Once that's cleared up, I've discovered that the music sounds better. If you don't clear it up with any relationship, if you don't clean it up beforehand, to me it's like spilling something. It spills into the music. And you know how hard spills can be to clean up!"
The trio even has a family mascot, so to speak, in the Hammond B3 organ, which is played by Foreman. What is it about the B3 that appealed to Foreman? "What drew me to it were the various sounds that I could get from it, its immense qualities. There are a lot of levers and stops and drawbars on it. Some you pull up, some you slip up and down. The fact that you can change sounds magically. I hadn't known that could be done. Mainly I chose the organ because I felt I could do more with it in terms of jazz, in terms of jazz and church. I've always been a jazz guy. Always."
And while Rockingham may not be a B3 player himself, he reveres the instrument. "I've always been attracted to the organ due to my dad. I own two B3s and Leslie speakers and I don't even play! One of the B3s just sits in my living room to just look at and wish I could play it. I love the instrument and I love people that play the instrument. I'm a frustrated organ player, that's what I am."
Rockingham continues, "Every black church you go into, you see a B3, or a C3, which is 'Church.' This was a precedent that was set because it has a very good bass line. Everybody before Jimmy Smith, even before that Bill Doggett and all that, they were playing B3's and it was for a reason. That's the instrument of choice in this type of group. Deep Blue Organ Trio doesn't play unless we are using a B3."
Broom, Rockingham, and Foreman enjoy having fun together, both onstage and off. Rockingham and Foreman are frequently together and have been known to play a practical joke or two while out on the road. Rockingham shares, "We joke about Chris' blindness. People will ask me, 'How is Chris doing?' and I'll say, 'He's still blind.' We walk into a restaurant together and I'll guide Chris into the restroom and I take his glasses and his cane and then he will guide me out! He has a great attitude about it."
The two also delighted in the opportunity to spill a few family secrets, especially since Broom was not there to defend himself. Foreman loves The Flintstones and does an impressive "Yabba Dabba Doo!" For Rockingham, his secret love is The Andy Griffith Show. According to Rockingham, "I have every Andy Griffith show. I am an Andy Griffith fanatic. And nobody can stump me on that. Nobody. Do you know what the Andy Griffith theme is called? 'The Fishin' Hole.'" As for Broom, Rockingham shares, "Well, he is a chocolate fanatic. A chocolate fanatic. And he loves oatmeal. He can't go a day without oatmeal. And he loves the TV show, The Office. He loves that. And he is a computer geek. Oh, yeah, a geek. All three of us, we have a great relationship. We're just kids; we're just kids at heart."
The future looks promising for the trio, with Broom's Upper West Side Story being released later in 2012, which will be Broom's first CD of all original material. There are also hopes for a big band album from Deep Blue Organ Trio. States Rockingham, "I was on the road with Glen Miller Orchestra, Guy Lombardo Orchestra, I've played with big bands all my life. I'm so fired up for it. And Chris has always loved and always wanted to do that because I would tell him about the things I used to do in college. This is one of our dreams. To have a CD with this rhythm section, organ guitar and drums with a big band. A lot of the things we used to do and arrangements we used to do, I used to think about that stuff because Chris was like the closest thing to a big banda one-man orchestra! So we're dreaming, we're dreaming. Let's see what happens."
Deep Blue Organ Trio, Wonderful! (Origin Records, 2011)
Deep Blue Organ Trio, Folk Music (Origin Records, 2007)
Deep Blue Organ Trio, Goin' to TownLive at the Green Mill (Delmar, 2006)
Deep Blue Organ Trio, Deep Blue Bruise (Delmar, 2004)