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Andrew Gilbert at the Hammond X66 Organ - The Girl From Ipanema

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Published on Nov 6, 2016

In August 2016 I had the chance to rekindle my love affair with the Hammond X66 organ, an instrument I first heard back in 1970. There aren’t many in the UK so chances to play them have been few and far between. I heard that there was one on the Isle of Wight, just a mile or two from where we were due to stay on holiday. What I initially thought would be just a private session for me to try out the organ blossomed into the chance to play a mini-concert for a small group of X66 fans, but one that would have absolutely no preparation, practice or rehearsal! All I had were my memories of the last time I played one in 1984, and a playlist of song titles running from 1964, when the X66 prototype was first shown, to 1967, when the organ came fully onto the market.

This X66 has been modified by top engineer Dave Page, with the addition of a Technics KN7000 keyboard as a third manual, full MIDI capability and uprated amplification. They call it the X666! However, in my concert I only used the original sounds of the X66, and didn’t even have an auto rhythm unit. Great fun, going back to real ‘old school’ Hammond styling.

Part of the concert was filmed on a phone cam by Dave Perry of the Isle of Wight Keyboard Music Club, who’s kindly allowed me to post the videos on line, so here is a snippet from that concert. Mistakes? You’ll see a few but I hope you’ll still enjoy this video of me having a ball on a fabulous vintage organ. Next time, I’ll have the opportunity to prepare and rehearse, as well as taking proper recording and video gear – and a vintage rhythm unit!

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