"ERIC LARSON"

By
Bill Reid

Eric is a Ken Griffin play-a-like, popular organist, composer, arranger and a generally all-round entertainer. He is equally proficant at repairing and refurbishing Electric, Theatre and church organs and is very much at home tinkering inside these machines as he is on tinkling the keys.

Like most of us in the Ken Griffin organ Society we came to know of Eric through his fantastic play-a-like tunes introduced on the web site. However, he proved his professionalism during the seven (to date) annual Dedication shows to Ken that have taken place since this Dedication Web Site was introduced.

However, along with his Ken interpretations Eric also tackles various genre of organ music such as Joplin, and quite impressive classical music arrangements, to amusing ditties.

Over the years of knowing Eric and visiting his home, along with the regular tapes and mp3's that he has sent me of his 'latest' arrangement(s) I have come to appreciate and enjoy his organ playing every bit as I have enjoyed Ken's recordings.

Most of you don't get the opportunity to hear Eric play in all his musical styles and I would like to dedicate this page to Eric and include mostly tracks that he has either he composed himself or are not likely to be breaking the copyright rules. Many have never been heard before and I hope that you enjoy discovering the too long hidden talents of this fine organist.

I will add to this list every now and again. The recordings are all at 64kbps (mp3's)

Ladies & Gentlemen, I have the great honor of introducing the great organist, Eric Larson...........

A Waltz For My Lady Composed by Eric and dedicated to his wife, Elizabeth.
Midnight Prairie Train
Excellent moody sound and interpretation of a train winding it's way across the Prairies.
Dainty Miss Played on the Hammond with overdubbing with a piano synthesizer sound.
Kiss The Empty Air
A really beautiful arrangement that sticks in your memory. This is one of my favourites.
Sheila Ann
Composed by Eric and nicely played in dedication to my late daughter Sheila Ann.
Highland Fantasie
As a Scot I was immediately impressed with Eric's interpretation of a Scottish tune and the sound of
                                  the Bagpipes on a Hammond. I could sense many Scottish feet tapping away to this fine
                                  arrangement.

Light & Blue
Hammond and Piano synthesizer again. Very catchy and really swings along.
Limberlost
Composed by Ken Griffin. Eric does an equally fine job of playing this number just like Ken but in this
                     arrangement, on the Wurlitzer Electrostatic Eric extends the tune and adds his own magic touch.

The Siamese Cat
 Composed by Eric. You can visualise this naughty Siamese Cat getting up to it's tricks, then after
                                being praised and petted settles down to a nice little snooze and purrs gently. The purring sound
                                from the organ is excellent.

The Westminster Cha Cha
 
Eric captures the sound of Westminster and Big Ben in a very catchy arrangement.  

25. 08. 08.

Laura  So silky smooth. Professional organ playing at it's best.
Linda
Well, is it Ken Griffin! Eric plays this catchy little tune very much as Ken may have arranged it.

16. 05. 09 Eric plays a mix of Hammond, Wulitzer Electroststatic and Midi

Diesel Train Boogie     Composed and arranged by Eric.Mind that train!
Rose Room                    A great little number made for Ken but sadly he never played it. Eric makes it sound as if he had.
Beautiful Ohio              One of Ken's finest and once again sounds as if it is Ken playing this fine arrangment by Eric.
Button Up Your Overcoat  Hammond & Midi this time with just a hint of the Ken Sound. A pretty little swing number.
Tico Tico                       A Ten Star performance from Eric's dizzy fingers. Yes, it could almost be Ken.                   

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Eric is also a fine Pipe organ player and has a Morton Organ in his home. However at the Dedication Show on the 23rd of October 2002  in Chicago we were lucky enough to have a couple of Allan organs for our use and here are two tracks by Eric played on the Allan (George Wright Signature organ) in which he plays two numbers quite impromptu at the end of the planned Ken Griffin numbers. They were totally unplanned and unrehearsed.

The first track is My Kind Of Girl. This shows Eric's more jazzy style rather than Ken's swing style.

The second track is quite amazing as just the evening before Andy Antonczyk played a recording of Ceceila by an artist, who's name I quite forget at the moment but who apparently was quite the worse for drink when he produced a really incredible impromptu arrangment of this catchy tune. It had obvioulsy caught Eric's keen musical ear and as mentioned he played the tune quite unplanned at the end of the show to our surprise. I think you will agree that to remember virtually every note and personal style of the original artists with only a rehearsal in his mind over night I think you will appreciate just how good an organist Eric is and why he can immitate Ken Griffin so well.

These two tracks were recorded on a portable CD Digital recorder. Both the small recorder and the not really suitable acustics of the organ showroom is noticeable but it doesn't spoil the enjoyment of this performance.
Both tracks are mp3's at 128kbps.

My Kind Of Girl            Cecelia

16. 05. 09 From the 2004 and 2005 Dedication Shows, respectfully. Eric at the Roger's George Wright  Signature Organ

Take Five                     Satin Doll

If any of these tracks break the copyright law please let me know and they will be removed as soon as possible.

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ABOUT ERIC By ERIC

Here is the response I got from Eric way back in January 2001 when we first made contact through the Dedication web site and I asked him how he got interested in Hammond organs and in Ken Griffin...............

"My first encounter with a Hammond was as a direct result of Griffin's music. An interesting story concerns Griffin's reputation and my first music teacher for organ. Friends of my parents recommended that I should take lessons, as I was somewhat learning to play just by experimentation, but one person in particular, a fairly accomplished pianist said that I would develop too many bad habits and never play properly unless I took lessons, so my mother called the lady whom our friend recommended and I went to see her the next day. 

Doris Tirrell was her name. Miss Tirrell (teen-aged students were not allowed to call her Doris) met me, introduced herself, and sat me down at a Hammond console and asked me to play. I knew Elmer's tune from listening to Griffin, so I played it for her. I got halfway through before she stopped me. In her American, New England-Boston accent, she said, "Your cawds are in the cellah and your melody's in the sky, and you aren't using the right cawds anyhow." She then sat down and played Elmer's tune herself. WOW! I was impressed. Then she gave me a copy of the music, which I didn't know how to read yet, and said "come back next Thursday at 5 PM and don't be late." 

I then told her that I wanted to play like Ken Griffin. Her comment was, "Good, then you'll always be very accurate, and I like that."  (that says it all). 

Miss Tirrell was a very tough teacher. She was less than five feet tall and to quote her she was "built like a duck." She was somewhat stout, looked like a very dumpy, unglamorous old spinster (she was), but what she could do with a Hammond was absolutely phenomenal. She could barely reach the pedals, but she did reach them. I thought at first I wouldn't like her, but I stayed with her and I'm glad I did. She was an absolute perfectionist. Everything had to fit. Harmony, chords (cawds) melody, tonal effects, balance between manuals and pedals, tempo, phrasing, fingering, correct pedal technique. She had an excellent ear, could name any pitch just by hearing it and missed absolutely nothing. Make the slightest little mistake and she was right there, sometimes sternly criticizing, other times, she'd just slide onto the bench, push me out of the way and play it herself. Then she'd make me sit down and copy what she did. One day, she pushed me off the bench at least ten times until finally I heard the magic words, "OK, that's what I want!" 

Doris Tirrell had a reputation as being one of the best and also had a reputation of turning out professional musicians. Most of her music students ended up deriving at least part of their income from playing. Many years later I went to see her. At the time she must have been close to eighty. She was only teaching three days a week instead of six, but it was a wonderful reunion, and it was then that I learned that she was indeed a wonderful friend and all of her toughness at the console was done in the spirit of genuine love for her students and seeing them become proficient. 

While I took lessons from her, I also took lessons for a short while with a classical organist in Boston on a large church pipe organ, a huge, four manual, 140 rank monster.  

I continued my lessons with Miss Tirrell for several more years also and later on I took more classical lessons on another large pipe organ. After that, I also took lessons from one musician who specialized in jazz and modern harmony, and of course I experimented all the time. I did all my early practice at my church, where there was an old Hammond in the chapel. When I could safely get away with it, I would also sneak up to the pipe organ in the sanctuary and play that too. I supplemented that practice time with several afternoons at a local music store where they sold Gulbransen organs".

Further insight to Eric's work and interest in organs can be found at:

 The Hammond Organ

The Wurlitzer Electrostatic Organ

Ken's Mother-Of-Pearle Hammond AV

Ken's Special Affects.

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