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Melvin Rhyne – Jazz Organ – Born October 12, 1936

Melvin Rhyne an Original Member of the Wes Montgomery Trio and More!

One of my favorite things to do is to scroll down the daily list of birthdays at All About Jazz. I always check for names I am unfamiliar with and/or musicians who play instruments that I enjoy! Today as I looked over the list I noticed a Hammond B-3 Organ player Melvin Rhyne.  I didn’t recognize Melvin’s name. However, after reading the following synopsis of the early years Rhyne’s career, I do believe I probably have heard his Hammond B-3 before……


Melvin Ryne was born on October 12, 1936 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her starte playing piano at an early age. He became a part of the city’s jazz scene at the age of 19 whenwhen…..

 ….. Rhyne started playing piano with then-unknown tenor saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk but quickly switched over to the instrument that would make him famous: the Hammond B3 organ. Rhyne’s piano skills translated to the organ fluently and before long he was backing famous blues players like B.B. King and T-Bone Walker. In 1959 when he was asked to join fellow Indianapolis musician Wes Montgomery’s newly formed trio.

Ok so now I know I have heard Rhynne’s organ before since I have heard many Montgomery’s the tracks from the albums that Wes recorded on the Riverside label!

Full Biography at Wikipedia

Front & Center – an early morning listen….

. The album that I listened to this morning was Melvin’s 2007 release Front & Center. The two other member’s of the trio appearing on this album are: Peter Bernstein on  guitar and  Ray Appleton on drums. I really liked this album! Which means, I will certainly be checking out more music from other bands that Melvin Rhyne has played in .

Other Groups and Albums of Melvin Rhyne

One of those configurations included: drummer Kenny Washington and guitarist Peter Bernstein. It is  the same organ, guitar, drum formation  as the original Wes Montgomery Trio.

Another configuration was a quartet. That quartet included Washington and Bernstein and a young saxophonist- Joshua Redman! The album that they produced was Boss Organ released on the Criss Cross label in 1993. Scott Yanow at AllMusic gives the album 4.5 stars and he writes in his review….

Mel Rhyne, best known for his association in the 1960s with Wes Montgomery, re-emerged with this Criss Cross CD as one of the finest jazz organists around. He is matched with guitarist Peter Bernstein, drummer Kenny Washington, and young tenor great Joshua Redman for a set of good-natured and often hard-swinging performances Read More

Final Thoughts and Some Music

From what I hear and read Melvin Rhyne was a dynamite organist whose work I have probably heard and never knew it! I wish I had and knew about his music back then!

Melvin Rhyne passed away on March 5 of 2013 at the age of 76 He died in his hometown of Indianapolis.

Here’s a playlist of songs from three of Melvin’s albums Front &Center, Mel’s Spells and Boss Organ. Enjoy!