A master has left us – Kjell Öhman

Last week one of Sweden’s, and IMHO one of the world’s, greatest organ heroes, Kjell Öhman, passed away. Actually, he was so much more than an organ player – pianist (truly brilliant on both), arranger, band leader, studio musician (about 8000 recordings from what I’ve heard) and simply a legend. But, since I’ve listened to him mostly on the organ, that’s what I’ll write about here.

kjellojag

His record “Live at the pawn shop” was the first organ jazz record I ever bought, and his playing, the phrasing, timing, melody lines and block chords just blew me away and have continued to do so since then. He is truly one of my main influences and favorite players of jazz organ.

The picture to the right was taken at a dinner for organ enthusiasts I think in 2003. This was one of the first times I met him and I had just played his song “Feppe” for the people in the room. I felt quite nervous doing so, but he liked and gave me a pad on the shoulder afterwards. That’s one of the moments I’ll remember for a long time.

His most legendary organ jazz recording was made in 1968, when he was 25 years old, simply called “Kjell Öhman plays organ jazz”. It has recently been issued digitally (see here) and for long remained a rarity on vinyl. I’m fortunate enough to have it on vinyl (and in two different editions), and it’s the crown of my record collection. If you haven’t heard it, check out this clip below where the whole record is played. My favorite song is “Feppe”, starting at about 21 minutes in.

I’m know sure to what extent he is known outside Sweden. I know in some circles he is, but even in Sweden he is not as well known to the general public as he deserved. So these are just my humble words in remebrance of this great man. Thanks for all the music Kjell!

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Past gigs
October 9th, 2020 7:00pm

Trinity

Tellus, Stockholm

October 3rd, 2020 6:00pm

Claes Janson & Andreas Hellkvist

Livestream, Hellkvist Headquarters

September 27th, 2020 5:00pm

Andreas Hellkvist and Jojo Djeridi

Fisksätra kyrka, Fisksätra

September 26th, 2020 6:00am

Solo organ

Livestream, Hellkvist Headquarters

September 12th, 2020 7:00pm

Apan & Grisen

Livestream, Hellkvist Headquarters

September 12th, 2020 5:00pm

Claes Janson

Livestream, Hellkvist Headquarters

September 12th, 2020 3:00pm

Andreas Hellkvist pianotrio

Livestream, Hellkvist Headquarters