Originally from Chicago, Matthew Kaminski is coming back to town for a performance at Uncommon Ground on Devon Ave November 13th in support of his latest release Live at Church Hill Grounds. We talked with Kaminski about how he got started on organ and his career in music.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: Where are you originally from and how did you end up deciding on the B3 Organ?
Matthew Kaminski: I grew up in Park Ridge and then migrated to Algonquin for my high school years. I, actually, started out on the organ at age 5, learning the 'Lawrence Welk' style of organ playing (more of a theatre style than jazz). In high school, I joined the jazz band as a pianist, which started my journey into jazz. I ended up studying jazz and piano at The University of Arizona and later on at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Ga, receiving both a Bachelors and Masters of Music. All throughout my college years, I continued jazz organ playing and the current album, 'Live at Churchill Grounds' is my third as a leader for Chicken Coup Records (organist Tony Monaco's subsidiary label under Summit Records)
Chicago Jazz Magazine: What drew you to start playing jazz music?
Matthew Kaminski: At first, playing in my high school jazz band planted a seed that started my love of jazz. I loved the improvisatory aspect that allowed me to use my ear. I also was a big blues fan and saw the connections between blues artists like Stevie Ray Vaughn and jazz artists like Jimmy Smith.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: Who were some of your major influences in music that helped you shape the way you play today?
Matthew Kaminski: As a jazz organist, it all starts with Jimmy Smith. I remember the first jazz organ CD I got was 'Fourmost' by Jimmy and was blown away! Also, in high school, my jazz band director lent me a Joey DeFrancesco CD called 'Reboppin' that opened my eyes as well. Then, in around 2004, I studied with jazz organist Tony Monaco, who continues to be a mentor to me, in my playing as well as in music business.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: You have a new recording out called “Live at Churchill Grounds” and it features Chicago vocalist Kimberly Gordon on some of the tracks. Tell us about the new recording, how it came about, the repertoire you choose and your connection to Kimberly Gordon.
Matthew Kaminski: I met Kimberly Gordon at the Green Mill about ten years ago. Actually, I went to go see organist Chris Foreman and Kimberly was singing. I was truly captivated by their sound. Kimberly's voice and style blends perfectly with the Hammond organ group setting. Through the years, we started performing together, both in Chicago as well as Atlanta (where I currently reside). I felt so comfortable with our collaboration that I decided to set up a live recording date at my favorite jazz venue in Atlanta, 'Churchill Grounds'. The CD features my Atlanta quartet with Kimberly joining us on 6 of the 10 tracks. We chose repertoire from both of our books that worked really well on our previous gigs together.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: On Sunday, November 13th you will be performing at Uncommon Ground in Chicago. Tell us about who you have in the band.
Matthew Kaminski: For my Chicago CD Release at Uncommon Ground (Edgewater location) on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 6pm, I am extremely fortunate to have two Chicago jazz legends on the gig: Greg Rockingham (Deep Blue Organ Trio) on drums and Henry Johnson (Ramsey Lewis) on guitar. I'm a big fan of them both and Kimberly helped to set them up with me.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: Why did you decide to come through Chicago and is this part of a tour in support of your new recording?
Matthew Kaminski: I still have a lot of extended family and friends in the Chicago area and always love coming back to perform for them. In the meantime, I hope to meet some of Chicago's jazz enthusiasts as well!
Chicago Jazz Magazine: What are the details on tickets and location of the performance?
Matthew Kaminski: I am playing at Uncommon Ground - Edgewater is located at 1401 W. Devon Ave., Chicago, IL 60660 (phone 773-465-9801). You can reserve seats at www.uncommonground.com.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: After the Chicago performance what else do you have coming up that our readers can checkout?
Matthew Kaminski: I'm the organist for the Atlanta Braves, so when the Cubs or Sox play the Braves in Atlanta, you can tune in! Also, I take requests on Twitter at @bravesorganist
Visit his official website www.matthewkaminski.com