Hammond Artists at Bernies

Over the past three decades, we have welcomed some of the world's hottest Hammond players to the Bernies stage. Some of these artists have been featured on our CD label Live at Bernies. These raw live recordings make you feel like you're sitting right next to the Hammond. You can purchase these CDs below.

If you are looking for a Hammond artist for a function or event, give us a call on (03) 9872 5122 and we cn hook you up with a great Hammond player.

Tony Monaco / USA

On Tony's sixteenth birthday, he received a phone call from Jimmy Smith. This was a great honour. Jimmy Smith gave Tony Jazz Organ secrets over the phone while he was playing in night clubs around Ohio. Jimmy encouraged Tony’s love of the organ. When he was twenty, Jimmy Smith invited Tony to come play with him at his club in Woodland Hills L.A., California. Tony has also spent time learning from Hank Marr, Bobby Pierce and Dr. Lonnie Smith. From this amazing beginning, Tony Monaco is now recognised by fans and the industry as a great jazz player. 

In April 2000, Tony met Jazz Organist Joey DeFrancesco and Joey offered to produce a CD for him. The two of them have become great friends and Joey is also featured on the CD.


 Bernie with Tony Monaco

Tony began expanding his playing nationally in 2001 and his second CD reached the top 10 on the Jazz radio charts. Tony now travels and plays the "New B3" organ from Hammond and his relationship with the Hammond company is as strong as his love of their instruments. 

Recent highlights for Tony have included giving a jazz organ clinic at the 2003 International Association of Jazz Educators in Canada, attending the Winter NAMM show for Hammond/Suzuki, performing at the Illinois State University "GLT" Jazz concert series as with the great Ron Carter and releasing his fourth CD, "A New Generation” on the new Hammond B3 organ. He has built a recording studio into his new home and is working on a new CD plus an instructional DVD, “Playing Jazz Hammond”.

Tony visited Australia in 2008 and we can't wait to have him back again... stay tuned

Michael Falkenstein / Germany 

Michael's way as a Hammond freak and a professional was determined by his father's activities who has been involved in the service business for electronic instruments. In 1982, he opened a Hammond studio in which Michael, as a youngster, was allowed to present Hammond instruments. This was a unique chance to play and teach himself. Very quickly, he adopted famous organ players like Jimmy Smith, Curt Prina or Wild Bill Davis. The Hammond became his passion. "A Hammond sticker was worth a whole bunch of bills", he says. Just turned 15, he performed for the first time. In the years to follow, Michael had some excellent chances to meet artists who gave him decisive impulses for his further career: James Brown and Jimmy Smith. James dubbed him "Prince of Soul on the Hammond-Organ". Michael's business today is the Hammond. He is the general sales manager for Hammond Suzuki in Germany, Austria and some East European countries. 


Tim Neal / Australia

More detail coming soon 

Jon Hammond / USA

Jon has played professionally since the age of twelve and is now a world renowned Hammond B3 player. Beginning as a solo accordionist, he later played the B3 in a number of important San Francisco bands. His all original group HADES opened shows for Tower of Power, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Michael Bloomfield. Moving East he attended the Berklee College of Music, played venues as diverse as Boston's "Combat Zone” during the '70's and the exclusive Wychmere Harbor Club and toured with the successful show revue "Easy Living". Subsequently, Jon has lived and traveled throughout Europe where he has an enthusiastic following.

Jon on the B-3 with Bernie 

Robert Barbarossa / Australia  

Robert Barbarossa is one of Australia’s most popular contemporary organists and has won worldwide acclaim for his brilliant and evocative orchestral arrangements. His repertoire includes a wide range of styles from classical to jazz that never fails to inspire his audience. Robert studied at the Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne and whilst still a student won numerous awards and competitions. He has performed throughout Europe and Australia and has built a successful career as a teacher, examiner and adjudicator in the field of keyboard music. Robert lives in Melbourne with his wife and two children all of whom are involved in the arts.

Robert is a master of the orchestral Hammond 

Michel Benebig / New Caledonia

 A regular visitor to the "Bernies" stage over many years has been the incredible Hammond player, Michel Benebig. His fancy footwork always amazes us. Michel's smooth style is something you'll just love.

If you’ve never heard of Michel Benebig, then maybe it’s time to check out Hammond organists on a global scale. Michel is the finest B3 player to hail from New Caledonia… 

Michel Benebig was born in 1964 in Noumea, New Caledonia, a small Island of the Western Southern Pacific. 

Michel Benebig Live at Bernies! 

He discovered the Hammond organ through hours of listening to his parents’ old vinyl recordings. At 7 years of age, Michel was surprised and excited by seeing Rhoda Scott on the television.

 At 11 years old, he played bass guitar, accordion, electronic organ and the synthesizer in various orchestras and bands all over New Caledonia. He joined the Territorial School of Music of Noumea, and followed traditional courses of piano.

In 1990, Michel headed to Besonçon, France, to complete a 2-year degree at the local Academy of Music. It was here that an enthusiastic friend first introduced Michel to the Hammond Organ, an L-100. He knew there and then that Hammond was the instrument for him! Upon returning to New Caledonia, Michel ordered a Hammond XB-5, just to get started.

He became a music teacher at the Territorial School of Music, the same school he attended as a student, at the same time launching an intensive study of Hammond organists such as Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Shirley Scott, Rhoda Scott, Wild Bill Davis, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Joey DeFrancesco, Doctor Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, and so many others…you get the picture.

In February of 1995, fate took a lucky turn. Michel came in contact with “Keyboard Exchange International”, an American company located in Florida that is dedicated to the restoration and exportation of vintage Hammond Organs. He spent a month here carrying out a specialised technical training course with Gary Eddinger (a highly regarded Hammond specialist). He also began recoding an instructional video with another organist named Eddy Crocetti. This video was sold with organs in order to give young and budding organist a kick start into the world of Hammond… a fairly daunting instrument, as I’m sure you’d know, if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

Whilst on a trip to the Italy, Michel had the extreme pleasure of meeting Jimmy McGriff. He was helping Joe Vaughan, the owner of the B3 being used for Jimmy’s gig, when Jimmy himself asked Michel to play. Michel was beside himself. The whole time he was playing, Jimmy remained next to him, tapping along, providing strong encouragement and praising Michel’s footwork. Not bad for the 2 year old Hammond player!

Another pleasurable moment was the meeting with Jimmy Smith (who wouldn’t be excited), in 1996. The makings of wonderful memories are also meeting Larry Goldings, Duck Jethro, Ronnie Foster, and Rhoda Scott doing the rounds in New Caledonia. They are unforgettable moments to Michel.

Today Michel Benebig teaches Hammond organ and piano within the Department Jazz and Contemporary Music Course at the Academy of Music of Noumea, New Caledonia.

Tony Nardi / USA 

When Hammond rang us up to say that an awesome Hammond organist, Tony Nardi, was visiting Australia, we quickly set a date. His trip was planned for June 2005 to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary with wife Karla, and you can't visit Melbourne without a trip to Bernies!

 Tony didn't have much time to warm up his fingers but we were so impressed with his playing! His smooth bluesy style was the perfect addition to his rich, husky voice. Tony often plays on older model Hammonds but he was thrilled with the touch and sound of the new Hammond B-3 portable (Special thanks to Kim Kelaart for loaning us his new B-3!).

 Left to right: Ivan, Karla, Tony and Bernie 

The amazingly talented drummer, Ivan Khatchoyan, accompanied him on the Bernies stage. The pair didn’t even have time to rehearse together but blended like a professional duo – and it sounded great. 

Tony’s love of music began with the Beatles and, growing up in Chicago, he heard some of the best blues around. After four years in the military, Tony ‘just had to have a Hammond’ – it was said that if you were going to play organ, this was what you played!

In the late 60s Tony bought his first 1937 BC model Hammond from a club owner in Louisiana, where it had been painted bright green. He stripped off the paint and got it fixed up, and Tony played this organ six nights a week, fifty weeks a year.

Tony now has a Hammond model 41 organ that has had much attention and repairs. He really does love those old instruments but said he wouldn’t mind a new B-3 as soon as he saves up!

In 1971 Tony’s band got fired and he picked up a job with a drummer. This meant he had to learn pedals pretty quickly to fill in the ‘bass player’ role. He loved the challenge and when you watch him play, his feet really are an instrument of their own.

Tony and Ivan played a fantastic evening of blues and jazz here at Bernies, with some well-known classics like ‘Don’t Get Around Much Any More’ and some re-surfaced hits like Ray Charles’ ‘Georgia’. Plus, gave us a taste of his real American style with a few tunes like ‘Mo Town’. Tony gave us a real treat of what it would be like to sit in a Blues bar on a Wednesday night with him. What an awesome Hammond player!

Ivan Richardson / Australia 

Born in Brisbane and now residing in Rockhampton, Australia, Ivan received his first music lessons at the age of 9. Ivan has performed extensively on all keyboard instruments. His reputation as a virtuoso on electronic keyboard instruments is widely recognised both Nationally and Internationally. The Ivan Richardson package is indeed an exciting one. A gifted comedian, and an extraordinary musician, Ivan's charm and magnetism have made him popular with audiences of all ages.


Liam Kealy / Australia

More detail coming soon 

Kim Kelaart, Australia 

More detail coming soon

Wayne Murray / Australia

Wayne is a natural Hammond player and a good old Hammond fanatic!  He has been playing keyboards for over 30 years - despite his piano teacher saying he 'hasn't got a musical bone in his body' at age 10. But, he hadn’t yet discovered the 'magical' musical properties of the Hammond Organ!

In 1998, Wayne was a member of a show called “The Magical 60's Tour” which was a 7-piece group playing around Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. Some years later, we invited the group to perform here at Bernies Music Land, and the resulting night was entitled 'Hammond A Go Go!' Two of the three female singers were able to feature many of the show's numbers with the 4-piece band providing the authentic musical backing. Hammond organ, of course, features heavily in many hits of the 60's, so this was a chance to remind the audience just how many there were!

Wayne lived on the Gold Coast for 7 years and was a member of Baxstarz, a band he set up to back visiting overseas artists. Today Wayne lives on the Mornington Peninsula and has played with various Peninsula and Melbourne bands including De Ja Vu, Nightshift, Common Ground, Back Beat and Live Mix. He currently plays with a 5- piece band Live Mix, playing a diverse mix of 60's music through to todays hits. He also plays with BackBeat, a 4-piece covers band playing material from the 50's through to the 90's. This band includes a Rod Stewart tribute, presented by the bass player (Con Starky from the band Ramrod) who not only sounds like Mr. Stewart - but also looks like him! 


Live at Bernies CDs

Live at Bernies
Bernies Music Land has been involved with the promotion of music in its many forms and in particular keyboard music for over 30 years. From 1991 the Live at Bernies concert series has played an important part in this promotion and has featured many prominent local and international artists. This recording which features several of Ivan's original silent movie compositions really captures the Live at Bernies atmosphere and showcases a truly talented artist combined with a remarkable instrument.

Peter Sullivan Live at Bernies

Join us as this iconic Melbourne piano bar musicia...

Ann-Helena Schluter - Live at Bernies

8 tracks of piano recorded at Bernies Music Land

Michel Benebig - Live at Bernies CD

7 tracks of soul jazz with Michel Benebig

Tony Fenelon Holiday Fantasy CD

Tony Fenelon Holiday Fantasy CD Live at Bernies Mu...

Max and Haydn Reeder - Live at Bernies

Max and Haydn Reeder play duet and duo on two pian...