I know in an abstract sense that organs aren’t supposed to be hip. In mainstream culture they’re associated with high church pomp, hokey ballgames, cornball restaurants. But I can’t make myself believe that organs aren’t cool because I know better. My dad LOVED playing the organ, the low-down and funkier the better. Black America has a great history of hot jazz and R&B played on the electric organ, especially the iconic Hammond B3. I thought of this recently because of a recent concert on NPR Music from Dr. Lonnie Smith.
There’s nothing that better evokes late night in the big city to me than a dude really going to town on a vintage organ. Listen to this concert for an idea of what one of the greats can do with this instrument. You can check out this link for a good (though now dated) history of the organ in jazz music. And if you just gotta get more of that sound in you, here’s a recent performance from Medeski, Martin, & Wood.