The Troy Street Observer

April 6-11, 1987: Hammond B-3 Fest at the 1369

Photo of Jack McDuff
Jack McDuff in action

The advertisements said it was time to Swing in the Spring at the 1369 Jazz Club, which was presenting its Hammond B-3 Organ Festival. It was heaven for the fans of the B-3. From April 6th to the 11th in 1987, five organists filled the Inman Square club with the big Hammond sound.

All the festival performers could trace their lineage back to Wild Bill Davis and Jimmy Smith. First up was Philadelphia’s Trudy Pitts, working then as always with drummer/vocalist Bill Carney, aka Mr. C. Next up was Don Patterson. Patterson, also then living in Philadelphia and attempting a comeback, was in poor health and lived only a few months after this gig. Third was Dr. Lonnie Smith. Fourth was Charles Earland. Finally, Brother Jack McDuff closed out the festival on Friday and Saturday nights.

For some, it must have seemed like 1967 all over again, as Pitts and McDuff had often been at Estelle’s in the sixties when that club featured jazz and a steady stream of organists (Davis, Shirley Scott, Bill Doggett, and Rhoda Scott among them). For others, it was a tour through the Prestige Records catalog—McDuff, Earland, Patterson, and Pitts released over 50 Prestige LPs among them in the 1960s.

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