Melvin Rhyne


Sharing a rare clip on YouTube of organist Melvin Rhyne, see here. Catch Rhyne in the studio in Wisconsin in 1993 with saxophonist Mark Ladley. I have to thank engineer Max Bolleman, who mentioned the footage in his memoirs I’m The Beat.

See my review of Rhyne’s only album as a leader in the ’60s, Organi-zing here.

Melvin Rhyne may not have made the headlines but he has always been a much-beloved organist. A special one who did not strictly follow the blazing style of pioneer Jimmy Smith but developed a restrained style with lines that betrayed thorough experience as pianist. His time was impeccable and his ‘plucky’ and dry sound stood out from the pack. Mike LeDonne told yours truly a couple of years ago that Milt Jackson believed Melvin Rhyne to be the greatest bebop organist.

Rhyne, best known for his contributions to the trio of fellow Indy cat and iconic guitarist West Montgomery, appeared on three major league Montgomery records, disappeared from the scene in the ’70’s but resurfaced particularly on the Criss Cross label of Gerry Teekens in the ’90s. (with Bolleman at the console) From then on the organist cooperated prolifically with New York guys that had known about Rhyne’s class all along, like Peter Bernstein, Eric Alexander, Bryan Lynch and Kenny Washington. He influenced various contemporary organists such as Mike LeDonne, Brian Charette, Kyle Koehler and Arno Krijger.

B3 hero!

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