With Killer B3 filmmakers Joe Bamford (left) and Murv Seymour (seated, right)

With Killer B3 filmmakers Joe Bamford (left) and Murv Seymour (seated, right) at St. Petersburg’s Palladium Theater

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”

~ Johnny Carson

You may not know exactly where you’re going in life. But if you follow your own happy feelings, you might arrive at a career pursuit that proves personally rewarding and delivers a unique professional distinction.

Such was the case with my friend Murv Seymour and filmmaker Joe Bamford. Their 8-year pursuit to chronicle the history and players of the legendary Hammond B3 organ resulted in a nostalgic musical journey and the production of an acclaimed documentary. They created new career growth while helping to preserve the past. 

Murv and I met the several years ago while participating in a seminar for innovative digital entrepreneurs. Hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the week brought together an array of speakers with people like us whose ideas could be applied to the interactive digital space.

I arrived with a definitive idea named MIKE, my husband’s trademarked sports entertainment character. Murv arrived as a veteran TV news journalist seeking a different, more meaningful future. 

Murv spoke little during the seminar but sitting beside him, I sensed he was rapidly synthesizing a plethora of novel concepts.

Murv and I kept in touch after the seminar, became friends on Facebook and crossed paths again at a university entrepreneurship lecture.  When I invited Murv to appear on a talk radio show I co-hosted called The State of Happiness, I knew Murv’s outside-the-box pursuits (which included doing stand up comedy aboard Caribbean cruise lines) would provide fun content for our listenership. 

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.  ~ Jonathan Swift 

What I didn’t realize was that Murv was not merely brewing as a comedian. He was simultaneously working on a documentary entitled Killer B3 about the legendary Hammond B3 organ.

Until he referenced the Hammond, I’d practically forgotten my own memories. . . .

Suddenly, I returned to the 1960’s when the Hammond organ dominated pop groups like Felix Cavalieri’s Young Rascals with hits like Groovin’Good Lovin’ and Lonely Too Long. I also remembered running to a girlfriend’s house after school so I could hear her elder brother’s band practice. The band’s musical centerpiece was a Hammond and it carried a mystical life all its own. I loved the spectrum of sounds and sensations that wafted into the afternoon air through the organ’s powerful subwoofer. 

Mini diamond pendant

For Murv, the pursuit of documenting this innovative piece of musical history happened by accident — or maybe not. Murv didn’t realize how his professional skills would intersect with his personal passions. Together, the mix would supply him with both a satisfying and distinguishing new career pursuit.

A chance outing to Riverview, Florida that featured Sean Brown playing the Hammond B3 organ literally — and figuratively — blew him away. Excited, Murv picked up his cell and called Joe Bamford, a colleague, camera man and friend from Tampa’s Channel 8 TV. Murv urged Joe to come down and take a listen. 

Blaring music from the powerful organ enthused these two music fans who realized that the legends who mastered this behemoth of an instrument were starting to die off. 

An idea arose: “Let’s do a documentary!” 

The two didn’t know that their inspiration would take them on an 8-year odyssey to capture the history, players and venues of this amazing pipe instrument. 

Murv and Joe’s idea started small. They took advantage of free space at Tampa’s Channel 8 TV studios and opened with a live, kick-off concert.

Little by little, the project inched forward. As names of famous Hammond B3 keyboardists surfaced and finances trickled in from friends and supporters, Murv and Joe traveled to various cities and venues across the U.S.A.

The end result is a seminal documentary. The film captures 12 seasoned veterans who played the Hammond, six of whom passed away during the production process. By the time it was completed, the musical documentary Killer B3 held deeper meaning. It curated and memorialized legendary musicians who explored and mastered the possibilities of this innovative musical instrument.

For Murv, using decades of on-air interviewing and production skills to create this documentary feels rewarding. Joe Bamford, the younger of the two, is satisfied in his own way: His camera captured key interviews and performances that would have been lost to future generations.

Murv says that the preservation project isn’t just a Murv idea or a Murv and Joe collaboration. Its completion is credited as a community effort and a labor of love. Friends, family members and others contributed cash, venues and more to help bring this project to fruition.

Today, a special village celebrates the film’s completion and shares in the awards it holds as preservation of a musical past. 

Whatever your professional skills and personal passions, may you find a way to marry them up into satisfying and happy outcomes, too! 

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Maura Sweeney is a Podcaster, Author and Speaker

Her mantra is “Living Happy – Inside Out!”

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