15th Hammond Jammin’ offers rocking salute to Hammond B-3 organ

The daylong tribute to the Hammond B-3 organ at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is also a salute to rock, soul and rhythm ’n’ blues genres.

Bill Barry with Monkey Fever at a previous Hammond Jammin’ bash. (Photo by Bob Schulz)

The 2019 Syracuse Winterfest continues its 11-day bonanza of frosty fun in the Salt City through Sunday, Feb. 24, with diverse programs sure to lure Central New York residents to enjoy the downtown happenings. Upcoming events will include the Chill Out Dance Party (Friday, Feb. 22, 7 to 10:30 p.m., Marriott Syracuse Downtown), a snow sculpture contest (Saturday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Everson Museum Plaza) and a weekend that features chicken wing walks, chili cook-offs and sangria mix-offs.

Local music fans will also take in the traditional Winterfest finale, as the 15th annual Hammond Jammin’ takes over the Upstairs at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que venue, 246 W. Willow St., on Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. The free six-hour concert, which usually gets packed for much of the afternoon, will be hosted by Jammin’ organizer Gerry Testa and WNDR-FM 94.1, 95.3 and 103.9 (The Dinosaur) morning-drive personality Nick Caplan.

The daylong tribute to the Hammond B-3 organ is also a salute to rock, soul and rhythm ’n’ blues genres that required the instrument’s big, beefy sound. Musicians such as Isaac Hayes, Felix Cavaliere, Gregg Allman, Steve Winwood, Booker T. Jones, Jimmy Smith, Phish’s Page McConnell and John Medeski employed the Hammond B-3 for their album tracks.

Syracuse New Times photographer Michael Davis, who will be performing on Sunday, noted last year that the B-3 should be hailed as “the king of keyboards. At one point, you couldn’t be considered a rock band if you didn’t have one.”

Since the B-3 weighs in around 425 pounds, making it difficult for bands to use on their gigs, Atlantic Rental and Repairs in North Syracuse will once again provide the hefty Hammond organ that will be used Sunday, along with a Leslie speaker that will weigh 150 pounds. “Bands don’t use trucks anymore to lug equipment,” Davis noted, “and stages for bands are smaller these days, so a B-3 these days is not really practical.”

This year’s Jammin’ lineup will offer Gerry Testa with Chapter XI; the Lawless Brothers Family and Friends, featuring Max Flansburg and Roland Brunet; Al Petroff with The Deep Freeze; Bill Barry of Stroke with Monkey Fever; Michael “Groove” Davis with Menage A Soul, featuring Phil Petroff and trusted harmonicat Li’l Skippy Murphy; Dave Solazzo and the Hip Replacements; and the Jon LeRoy Trio.

Hammond Jammin’ will also honor the memory of Tom “Biff” Cooper, the longtime house sound engineer for the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que who passed away last June at age 64. Cooper was part of the long-running Mickey Vendetti and the Good Time Band since 1991, and also played with Abraxas, Déjà Vu and The Blast. His sound company also worked with local musicians as well national acts including Blue Oyster Cult, Duke Robillard and Gwar,

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