Michael Torsone has developed one of the most professional sounds in the music community. This smooth, cool sound of jazz is generated by the world-renowned Hammond B3 organ. The powerful but controlled voice of Michael in combination with the vintage instrument creates a nostalgic and natural groove that cannot be replicated by the electronic chicanery of modern, electronic keyboards. His versatility and conviction to Jazz, Blues and R&B, augmented by his magnetic stage presence is the cornerstone to the success that Michael currently enjoys.
Michael’s first exposure to the world of music was through his family and the popular music of his youth.
Michael grew up in a family of talented performers. His grandfather came to America in 1909, with a cornet case and a dream for a brighter future. He taught music in Amsterdam, New York and in the New York City Schools, as well as forming concert bands in both places. He later opened a funeral business in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in the former home of the Vassar Brothers. Michael learned to play, using an old 1890’s pump organ in the funeral home; while listening to Ray Charles records played by a woman who worked for them named Lottie May Bennett. He tried playing all the instruments available to him; including the trombone, trumpet, accordion, bass viol and guitar. He would pluck the bass viol and then play the pump organ; trying to emulate the sounds that dominated the music scene at that time, by the famed Hammond B3.
It was then that Michael begged his family to purchase him his own Hammond, but they declined to do so. Consequently, he focused his natural musical abilities on his second choice; the bass viol. By observing his father’s bass playing, Michael readily grasped the skill to play the instrument proficiently.
In his early high school years, Michael played with many different groups; including: a folk group named “3 Square = Music”, “The Ken Baron Trio”, “The Last Chance Banjo Band” and “The Matt Jordan Band”. It was in the “The Matt Jordan Band” that Michael made his debut as a vocalist and he hasn’t stopped singing since.
By the end of his High School years Michael was devoting many hours to the “O’Leary Brothers Band”, where he was a piano player. Michael received his first Hammond organ as a High School graduation present in 1971. This was the catalyst to the future success of the now accomplished musician and vocalist.
It was this gift that initiated Michael’s obsession to understand the mechanical artistry of the Hammond organ and the Leslie tone cabinet to the point of becoming a master Hammond organ/Leslie tone cabinet technician himself. Today, Michael Torsone’s collection of Hammond organs and Leslie speakers consists of 14 organs and 20 Leslies.
By age 30, Michael had shared his technical acumen with such well known organists as Felix Cavaliere, Jimmy McGriff, Richard “Groove” Holmes and others.
His early musical influences included artists such as: Ray Charles, Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals, Vanilla Fudge, B.B. King, Santana, Tower of Power, Lee Michaels, The Allman Brothers, Stevie Winwood, Keith Emerson, Yes, Deep Purple, Steppenwolf, Argent, The J. Geils Band, Brian Auger and Booker T. Jones.