The latest album of Michael Falkenstein was recorded on a Hammond Organ from the year 1949. It is now ready for download. Here's the story of the Manhattan Sessions Album

NAMM-Show 2024: Genau vor 10 Jahren entstand die Idee für ein neues Album. Durch eine spontane Band Formation auf der NAMM Show kam der erste Song zustande. Weitere 15 sollten folgen. Jetzt ist das Album auf "Band-Camp" zum Download erhältlich:


NAMM-Show 2024 - Exactly ten years ago the idea for a new album has been set. Throuh a very spontaneous gig with gutarist Joe Berger and Drummer Jay Dittamo the idea raised to extend this fun ! 15 more songs are the result and available now on bandcamp:


The New York Sessions – New Album from Michael Falkenstein
featuring Joe Berger(G)  and Jay Dittamo (DR), Danny Walsh (Sax/Flute)

This album is dedicated to my beloved father Klaus Maier.
He was the inspiration for this album. His encouragement and –over the years support for the Hammond-Organ and for helping people have been inspiration for my life.

The legendary Hammond Organ was invented in 1934 by Laurens Hammond in Chicago, USA. The new sound of this instrument inspired all kinds of composers and musicians, who then created new styles and new ways of making music

The idea for this album was inspired by the 80th anniversary of the Hammond Organ. In January 2014 I flew over to attend the big US Music Fair NAMM in Anaheim, California, where there was a ceremony that included my Father, who was the founder of Hammond Germany. He was honoured for his lifetime achievement. My beloved father passed away in October 2013. It was a very emotional evening with 40 bagpipe players on the Palm Tree Plaza which I shared with our long time friends Joe Berger from New York & Jon Hammond, NY & SF.

The next day the 80th anniversary of the Hammond Organ was celebrated together with legendary Hammond icons like Keith Emerson, Chester Thompson, and many other friends of the company.
After the official party some music performances were planned down on the main stage in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel where many VIP´s were in attendance.
Greg Gronowsky, CEO of HAMMOND USA asked me to perform there, but I was shy to do so spontaneously as I had no band.

On the escalator down I discovered a man wearing the name badge Jay Dittamo and instantly remembered that Jay Dittamo is a fabulous drummer who performed/recorded with my friend Joe Berger. .
I instantly talked to Jay: “Are you the drummer with Joe Berger ?!”
He replied “Yes, I am”
I decided to ask “Do you want to perform on the big stage here”?
“In 10 minutes!”
He said yes!
This was all happening with me going up the escalator and Jay on the down escalator passing each other.
A minute later we met on the ground floor and called Joe Berger.
Incredible excitement to play out of nothing just before the performance of Jon Hammond and before the performance of Keith Emerson, but the time was right and there was a positive buzz in the air.
The performance was amazing & the boys got so many invitations for drinks that they could not keep up. Even musicians have their limits!
The event was filmed for a Jon Hammond Show cable TV broadcast.
Out of this positive experience Joe Berger had the idea of recording an album with me.

Summer 2015.
The year we started our own family. My life partner Jenny was expecting our first baby and  recommended if I plan some long trips as I should do them now rather than later!

Joe invited me to New York for the recording in the Cave Studios of Jay Dittamo. We recorded 16 songs in four days, out of the hat, very spontaneously without any rehearsal some songs I just composed minutes before recording, out of pure creative feeling.
We recorded 11 songs that I composed myself, plus my interpretation of three titles of my friend and favourite Hammond composer Jon Hammond.
Joe Berger is of course famous as a great guitar player but I revere him as a great listener who can instantly follow whatever I play out of the hat. I never plan anything ahead but try to open my soul to the spirit of the moment, transferring it into music.
Jay Dittamo is an exceptional drummer, capable to meet any genre instantly and besides that he is a wonderful personality! Topped by his wife Maria, who is the best host ever & looked after us with so much care and attention.


The organ we rented from Long Island was a 1949 Hammond B-2
with installed Trek-II Percussion.

LA Funk

This was the song we played when we first met on stage during the NAMM Show. We had no chance to rehearse but it was a lot of fun and fantastic energy in the air, that eve in Southern California. There are some videos of this spontaneous gig on You Tube: 'Michael Falkenstein live in Los Angeles'.


Hello Jimmy

Tribute to the legendary master of the Hammond Organ, Jimmy Smith.
When I was around15 years old there was certainly a lack of multimedia, so my father took me to a record shop and placed an order for two vinyl records of Jimmy Smith which had to be ordered from the USA. A few weeks later the records arrived and it was like my birthday as I unpacked them and put them on the record player.
Wow ! What atmosphere in sound !
Years later I had the chance to meet the idol of all Jazz organ players:
I first met Jimmy Smith in 2000 in the great historic record hall of the Nord-Deutsche Rundfunk NDR. He had just arrived from the airport and was in very bad mood, but I liked him instantly and he accepted me from the first moment on.
We became real friends and I took care of Jimmy during his concerts in Germany for the next several years.
In these times I was also frequently on tour with James Brown. In one week I met Jimmy Smith and some days later James Brown, and asked both if they had ever met. Both were talking highly about each other, but they had never met throughout all those decades! So I had the idea of bringing them together and arranged for them to meet in Las Vegas. The one and only meeting of Jimmy Smith with The Godfather of Soul, James Brown! Of course I was very happy that the little boy Michael from the small village in South Germany could arrange this during both their life times !


Breakfast with CatWoman

Jay Dittamo, our fantastic drummer and friend is married to a fantastic lady – Maria – who prepared a wonderful breakfast for us every morning. While Jay has one of the original Batman costumes in his studio, Maria is perfectly fitting in the original Catwoman suit! In fact she really is Catwoman. 😉
During breakfast I had the idea of this song and after breakfast we just went back
to the studio and recorded it!


Sag mir wer Du bist ('Tell me who you are')

I composed this song in the early 1990s not for organ but as a rap, with lyrics
In this teenager early twenties age I composed many songs and lyrics but never released most of them. It was a very easy and creative time in my life.

Blues in Eb

Joe said: “Let´s play blues” and so we played a blues.  😊

Roby, Toby & das Fliewatüt

This is the title song of one of my favourite childrens TV series which was broadcast in the 1970s in Germany. Composed by the magnificent composer, arranger and Hammond organ player Ingfried Hoffmann.
Joe and Jay wondered what this song was but instantly liked it too.  😉

Jennifer´s Song

Composed by my favourite composer for Hammond organ and long time friend Jon Hammond. My father and I met Jon Hammond in 1987 at the Musikmesse Frankfurt Music Fair and we have enjoyed so manygood times together in so many countries since then. Joe Berger visited the HAMMOND booth at the 1987 Musikmesse. I was a young organist – just 16 years old– and my Father Klaus Maier had me play and demonstrate the brand new Hammond SUPER-B for Mr. Hammond and Mr. Berger aka, 'Ham-Berger'.


A Baby In October

We expected our first baby. The doctor calculated October.
At the second or third day in the studio after lunch we were sitting around the table after a delicious lunch from Maria. Joe and Jay were talking while my thoughts were with the baby arriving soon and how it would change my entire life. Out of that emotional feeling I went down to the Cave Studio and played alone atthe organ. By the timeJay and Joe came down a new  song was born and I asked them if we couldinstantly record it.
Though this song might not be a typical Hammond tune and probably does not quite fit this album, it came out of sincere feelings of the moment.
.So it might be good for promoting a children's series or a nappy advertisement!  😊
However, our first daughter Leslie decided to arrive early in September !

60's Brit Beat

I love Great Britain and the people there. When I saw an old lady dressed like the queen standing at a bus stop talking with a wild looking punk fellow....this is what I love... talking with all kinds of people and no one feeling left out or isolated. 😊


Get Back In The Groove

One more composition from Jon Hammond. This tune makes me feel free like cruising in an old American car on the highway. Big block under the hood and full tank in the back. 😉 This is my cover of Jon´s song that he composed at the age of 15.
Since I can think I was touched by American Cars especially from the period 1977 – 1984 and still own my first car which is a 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. James Brown was sitting in it and signed it which makes it unique

I Want to Know How Life Goes On

Wrong English ( original I want know how life goes on ) but this is the start of the text of a song I composed also in the early 1990s when I left my teenage years behind. The text continues searching and ending with the belief that "HE is supporting me”.
I was always a believer and would absolutely not live without such heavenly protection.

Freiflug ( free flight )

The year before recording this album I was in Berlin at my soul brother Giorgio´s home playing his C-3 and historic Blüthner grand piano when a very special lady visited Giorgio: Atina Tabé  born in Tehran now married to a circus director in Switzerland, she is a unique personality and was singing in a famous band in Germany. She entered the apartment with the words: “I have composed new songs for a new project.... soul striptease!”
I asked how they would sound. She just had the lyrics and so I composed the music spontaneously. There´s a video on YouTube of a little summer gig in Berlin with Atina Tabe` - Freiflug

Zu Ihr

Another Song I composed for atmospheric singer Atina Tabé .
I love how Joe played the guitar with so much funky feeling and the fantastic saxophone played by Danny Walsh.

Train Song

One more great composition of Jon Hammond which reminds me of an easy walking tap dancer on the way home.

Lonely In Manhattan

This song I composed also in the 1990s in the little village where I live in South Germany after watching one of my absolute favourite TV series, 'Kojak'.

Encourage Yourself

Is exactly what I believe !  Encourage everybody around you and encourage yourself ! Through my parents I got the belief without any religious limitation or restraint. Staying optimistic is so important. Albert Einstein went even further: he said “the utopia is what creates reality”.
During my stay in Manhattan I said to Joe, before we start the recordings I went to attend a service in the church where Whitney Houston grew up which is in New Jersey.  Joe joined me and we had a very special experience.
We also met personal friends and some family members of Whitney Houston.
On the picture her cousin is in the middle. Even her mother Cissy was attending this very touching service. For Joe and me it was a real experience we will never forget.

Special thanks to
Joe Berger ( Guitar, Sound Engineer & Producer )
Jay Dittamo ( Drums & Studio )
Danny Welsh ( Saxophone & Flute )
Maria Dittamo ( hospitality & care )
Jon Hammond ( inspiration & composer )

Without Joe Berger this album would not have happened.
Thank you, dear Joe!

Very big thank you to Jay Dittamo for your forever easy but super professional musical work! Heartfelt thanks to Maria Dittamo for such warm and delicious hospitality !

Very special thanks to Jon Hammond who brought us all together
and organized so many things in the backround 😉

Thanks to Master Danny Walsh for your fine saxophone and flute playing !

Recorded in The Cave Studios, New Jersey

Mixed and Mastered by Joe Berger in NYC


Joe Berger, photo by Andreas Meer

Jay Dittamo

Danny Walsh ( Sax & Flute )