Pierre tells his story
how he came to the organ:
Get on down to the B3 sound!
I'm 52 years old and I live in Borlänge, Sweden.
First of all I want to say thanks to Jürgen Wolf and IAJO for letting me be the organist of the month.
I'm very honoured.
What you hear in the background [in the MP3 version] is the sound of the instrument that blow me away in the 60's.
It's of course the Hammond organ, and in this case a B-3. This sound is the greatest. I love it.
Soon I will tell you my story how I became a Hammond organ player, many years ago.
The music in the background is from my first CD "Organ Jazz'n Soul". It's with my trio
Pierre Swärd Hammond Jazz'n Soul Group. It came out 1996. With me on the record are
Jan Ottesen on guitar and Hans Rolin on drums. On the CD we had two guests, Per Grebacken and Per
"Ruskträsk" Johansson on saxophones. It's released on the label Four Leaf. I played on my old Hammond B-3 from the 60's.
Well, now my story. So here I go.
I was born 1954 and I showed my interest in music very early.
My parents Britt and Enar and Ruth my grandmother and Sten my grandfather on my mothers side,
they noticed my musical interest and feeling. I started to drum anytime and everywhere. In a car,on a table,
on the floor,on a wall, on my knees, with my mouth. Well, wherever I could find a sound.
My ears were always close to the radio. When I was 4 years old, my grandfather Sten built a drumset to me.
I still remember when I was sitting outside, with many people standing around me, listening.
I played and whistled, ... ... ...
6 years old I got my first guitar. It was an acoustic rock'n roll guitar. I started early to buy records.
My first record was Be Bop A Lula with Gene Vincent. I did my first gig in 1963, when I was 9 years old.
I played the guitar and the bass. It was pop music. It was Cliff Richard, The Shadows, The Beatles, Rolling Stones,
The Kinks, The Lollipops, Alma Cogan.
When I was 11-12 years old, something very special happened to me. I heard Ray Charles, B.B King and Mahalia
Jackson on the radio. It was blues, soul, gospel, jazz. That was a real kick. I could really feel it, and it
was swinging and groovy. I heard for the first time the dynamics in the music. Dynamics, for me one of the
most important things.
I started to play the piano we had at home. I played blues and boogie woggie. Then I heard the jazz piano
players Oscar Peterson and Ramsey Lewis. I loved it. I loved the swing of Oscar Peterson and the jazz
soulbeat of Ramsey Lewis. But, ... I say, ... 1967 ... WOW !!! One day when I was listening to the radio, I heard
a VERY, VERY SPECIAL SOUND! It was Jimmy Smith playing the tune "Organ grinder swing".
Wow, from this moment I knew that this is my instrument. It was THE HAMMOND ORGAN! Thanks Jimmy !
I bought records and listened to Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, Groove Holmes, Billy Preston
and some more great organists. I was so fascinated how to play an organ. To use both hands and feet.
Play the melody with my right hand, chords with my left hand, bass pedals with my left foot and my right
foot on the volume pedal. That's the way I wanted to play. I started to practise to co-ordinate my hands and feet.
At the same time I heard the great sound from a Leslie cabinet. Yes, that's the thing.
Connect a Hammond organ with a Leslie cabinet and it goes WOW ! My first organ was a Solina. That was 1968.
Not a real Hammond sound, but the Solina had two manuals, bass pedals, volume pedal and an inbuilt Leslie.
I listened to my organ jazz records and tried to have my Solina to sound like a Hammond. I'll tell you, I was happy!
In 1969 I had my first real Hammond. It was a L 100 and a real Leslie cabinet 145.
I'm self-taught and it was not easy to find out how to use the drawbars, to get the real sounds.
But one way was to find record covers or jazz magazines with pictures of organplayers, and I could maybe
see how they had the drawbars set and the percussion and the chorus vibrato. I listened and looked and tried and played.
I found the sounds and I learned how to play the organ. The real dream came true in 1972.
I got my Hammond B-3 and a Leslie 122. My lovely parents Britt and Enar helped me with all this. Thanks mom and dad!
If you visit my website www.pierresward.com and biography, you can hear all this.
You can listen to authentic soundclips from these years.
I started my first trio in 1970. Since then I've been having my trios. Members have changed.
Nowadays my trio is me, Jan Ottesen on the guitar and Jocke Ekberg on the drums. We are Pierre Swärd Hammond Jazz'n Soul Group.
The style is a mix of jazz, blues, funk, soul, gospel and pop. We have released two CDs, "Organ Jazz'n Soul"
in 1996 and "Up and at it" in 2001. So once again,the music in the background comes from these two CDs.
The first two tunes are from "Organ jazz'n Soul" and the last two comes from "Up and at it",
which is released on label Marble Music. It's my trio with me playing a Hammond XB-3, Jan Ottesen on the
guitar and Jocke Ekberg on the drums. Joining us on the CD is the great altosaxplayer Per "Ruskträsk" Johansson.
If you want to hear more of my music and playing, you are welcome to visit my website.
Back in the days I also became a freelance musician. I have always liked to do different things.
Though I consider myself an organplayer, I've also been playing piano and synthesizers through the years.
I've been touring a lot, playing with many artists and musicians, doing recording sessions, television- and radioshows.
I still tour a lot and I love it.
I do things with my trio. I'm also a member in a quartet, led by jazz guitarist Ulf Wakenius. He's
the regular guitarplayer with the legendary jazzpianist Oscar Peterson. I also play in a group called Now
and another group called Blue Pipes. Blue Pipes is a quartet with Hammond organ, a digital pipeorgan,
saxophone and drums. I'm still a freelance musician, guesting and playing with great musicians and artists.
It's a very thrilling and joyful life I live as a musician.
For me to be a musician is also to be connected to the internet. The internet is incredible.
New meetings all around the world. People who loves the Hammond organ. Well, I got to know Jürgen Wolf
through the internet. What he is doing for the Hammond organ is great. I'm also very happy to have met the
organ jazz promotor number one in United States, Mr. Pete Fallico from San José in California, through the internet.
He is doing a fantastic thing for Hammond and organ jazz. He wrote the linernotes on my CD "Up and at it".
He has featured me a couple of times in his jazz radio show "Doodlin' Lounge". I had the opportunity in 2005
to meet Pete in California. He invited me to visit USA.
He introduced me to very nice people, for example organ jazz player Seleno Clarke, who invited me to play and
jam at his club in Harlem, New York, and also Afrikhan Jamahl Dayvs, who featured me in his radioshow "Jazzline".
I jammed at clubs in San Francisco, Napa, New York, Cleveland.
Through another lovely friend, John Bender in Cleveland, I got in contact with jazz radio host Dorothy "Dot" Martin
and jazzpromotor Jim Wadsworth. Jim organised a jazzorganconcert with me and organist Melvin Rhyne at jazzclub
Night Town in Cleveland.
Today I also work close to the Hammond in Sweden and to Hammond Europe in the Netherlands. In 2002 I did a
demotour playing the New B3 in the Netherlands. So I will also thank Patrik and Birgitta in Sweden and Siemen
and Jan in the Netherlands.
As you can hear I do everything to let the Hammond sound come out and reach people. I was asked once to
describe the Hammond B3 in few words. I said, "Playing the Hammond B3 can be like ...(singing Hammondscatting) ...,
and it can go wild and crazy. The Hammond B3 is a complete dynamic instrument ".
When I play the B3, I wanna do it with dynamics and in a spontaneous way.
That's my way of doing music.
Now you heard about my story how I became a Hammond organ player and my love for the
Hammond organ and a Leslie cabinet.
Today I have my old B-3 and the new B-3. I have two Leslies, the old 122 and a XB-122.
When I tour I usually use the new B-3 with the old and the new Leslie cabinets together.
Once again, many, many thanks to Jürgen Wolf and IAJO for letting me be The Organist Of The Month.
Please be welcome and visit my website www.pierresward.com.
I hope to see you at my gigs wherever they are. So Hammond lovers, wherever you are around the world,
let's groove, let's swing and Hammond forever!
Pierre has also produced an audio file (16:28 min, 9,651 kB)
speaking about his way to the Hammond organ. Click on the
MP3 logo to listen to Pierre !