Mel Rhyne – Organ-izing

One of the many great musicians to spring from the Indianapolis jazz scene of the1950′s and 1960′s was organist Melvin Rhyne, who is probably best known for his collaborations with legendary Indianapolis guitarist Wes Montgomery.

Rhyne released his first solo project, “Organ-izing”, on Jazzland Records in 1960, contemporaneous with his work with Montgomery.  Rhyne later released an LP with Johnny Shacklett, “At the Hoffman House”, in 1969 on United Artists, as well as several CD’s in the 1990′s and 2000′s.  Rhyne also appears on the scarce 1983 local release, “Jazz O Mania!” which features some high school jazz bands and is sponsored by Indianapolis Public Schools.  Still active in recent years, his newest release was a collaboration with Indy saxman Rob Dixon, “The Dixon-Rhyne Project“, released by Owl Studios.  More on those in the future.

Meantime, “Organ-izing” is a timeless classic, featuring some excellent sidemen;  Blue Mitchell on trumpet, johnny Griffin on tenor sax, Gene Harris on piano, Andy Simpkins on bass, and Tootie Heath on drums.  Four long, mellow and groovy tracks featuring great interplay between Rhyne and his troops.  Rhyne’s compositions are bluesy and stretch out in a relaxed and mellow manner.

Although this LP was recorded at Reeves Sound Studios in NYC, Rhyne kept the Naptown flavor by including Hoosiers Harris and Simpkins in the band.

The original LP is scarce and sought after by jazz record collectors, though it can usually be acquired for $25-$50 at most.  A CD version (pictured here) was issued in 2000 and is still available on Amazon as well as on eBay.  A bit more on Melvin Rhyne can be found on Wikipedia.


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