Liner notes by Pete Fallico
Andreas Hellkvist was, at first, hesitant to embark upon a serious study of instrumental music until he heard the sound of the Hammond B3 organ played by Pierre Sward in their home town of Borlange, Sweden. It was Pierre who first showed Andreas how to use the drawbars of the organ and utilize the speeds of the Leslie speaker. Once, saddled to his own Hammond, Andreas was off and running on his own musical journey into the Land of Organ Jazz.
My first introduction to Andreas’ recorded music was with his 2003 release entitled, ‘The Hammond Project’. This was followed by several wonderful recordings under the moniker ‘Trinity’. Finally, I added to my collection, Andreas’s 2016 release from DO Music Records called ‘Finally!’ Thanks to Andreas gifting me these recordings, I have been able to follow thevolution of his sound and appreciate the tenacity and pure talent that he possesses. I’ve always heard the intrinsic connection Andreas has had to the organ and, like his mentor, Pierre Sward, realized his remarkable awareness of bass lines and the full capacity of both the vintage Hammond organ and its digital offspring. This, together with the high level of communication between Andreas and Samuel and Daniel, creates an astounding musical experience.
The song-list within this CD includes a most interesting array of musical moods and styles with Andreas’ patented funk, fire and finesse. Creating the best possible recording environment was crucial and therefore Andreas arranged for the trio to be situated in the same room. He explains: “I had one Leslie 122 behind me, and another Leslie 142 between Daniel and Samuel. Samuel’s amp was next to him. The music was all recorded live without headphones. It felt liberating and the sound filling the room was almost a transcendental experience. We tried to capture as much of it as possible in the mix and since the Leslies rotated most of the time, we managed to create a wide sound that I liked. It was like having the organ embracing the other instruments”.
Andreas and company begin this session with ‘Let’s Get Together’ – a high energy excursion on the rock-ish side of jazz organ. This track reminded me of my first ride in a Tesla automobile where my body was pinned to the seat from the sheer force of the energy. The electricity between the organ and guitar, together with the tempo shifts, give this ride a most exciting entrance.
‘Phases’ takes us in an entirely different space with its soft and introspective mood. The ethereal sound created by these three musicians leads us through time and space in stages, offering beautiful changes and fluid lines that mesh well together. The resolution felt at the end is convincing.
‘Just Flowin’ gives us a fun and up-lifting musical jaunt that is sure to please all. Repetitive lines and a bright bridge bring a kind of resilience to this tune as it bounces and weaves and ultimately morphs into a ‘churchy’ piece that takes us home in style.
Another platform for smooth and mellow organ jazz is found in ‘Snowflakes’. This track can be realized as a true cross-over tune that can move in a variety of directions. There is nice use of the Leslie and an eloquent sharing of space between guitar and organ.
With ‘Fall’, I hear a more modern mood that is charming yet mysterious. There is a searching quality to this music which could very well be used as a movie sound track. The changes are beautiful and the commitment made by these musicians is pronounced.
With obvious respect for the funky organists and keyboardists that preceded him, Andreas brings us ‘Tritlar’. This ‘Rock-It-style’ groove reminds me of the bar that was set in the 1980’s. Just when we feel that there will be no stopping on this musical journey, Andreas slows us down to catch our breath and recalculate our direction. It’s funky and it’s fun but always possessive of Andreas’ signature sound.
Repeating a comfortable phrase and allowing listeners to familiarize themselves with his groove are characteristics of Andreas’ music. Jesus’ is one such tune with its pleasing tone and enchanting mood.
One gets the impression that Andreas is a devoted musician who knows how and where the organ best conveys its message. His connection to his guitarist and drummer is on a metaphysical level and it allows this music to transcend the page and float, effortlessly, within space. There is sanctity in its delivery and purity in its presence. For Andreas this recording is meant to reflect both his musical and personal journeys to date. It has been about rediscovering, as well as working to fruition. I think we can all agree that these goals have been accomplished.
KCSM ‘The Bay Area’s Jazz Station’