This month started with a trip to Cotton Club in Tokyo's Marunouchi district to see the trio Aquapit play a gig to promote their new album "Orange."

Before the show even started, something caught my attention: Occupying center stage was a vintage Hammond B3 organ, perfectly framed by a set of curtains that served as a backdrop. There was also a distinctive Leslie speaker cabinet with a rotating horn located a few feet behind the organ.

This instrument secured a place in jazz history in the 1950s and '60s via the work of artists such as Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott and Dr. Lonnie Smith, but faded away in the '70s as more portable keyboards became the norm. The Hammond B3's distinctive sound, however, has its own dedicated fans and the instrument has maintained its place in jazz culture, albeit via newer more compact versions of the original.