Friends and artists across the community of Hammond organ players and enthusiasts were deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Gregg Gronowski, the iconic instrument maker’s chief of sales and marketing, on August 19. Gronowski suffered an unexpected stroke while at home in the suburbs of Chicago two days prior, and though he was transported to the hospital, he did not regain consciousness.
Gronowski was an ardent friend and colleague of Keyboard magazine, and is widely credited with the renaissance of the Hammond brand among contemporary keyboard players. It was chiefly through his efforts that the current and robust status of Hammond’s artist relations program was achieved. Its roster includes legendary jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, Gregg Allman, Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, Billy Joel keyboardist David Rosenthal, Felix Cavaliere of the Young Rascals, and many others.
“I had the privilege of working closely with Gregg on two Hammond ‘Sound Soul Summit’ concerts at the 2013 and 2014 NAMM Shows,” recalls Keyboard editor-at-large Stephen Fortner. “These wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without his professionalism and sense of humor.” Gronowski is survived by his wife Lori, son Gregg Jr., and daughter Jamie. The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time. Hammond USA has informed us that a memorial concert featuring top artists is in the planning stage. For updates about that, and tributes from some of the Hammond community’s best and brightest, visit keyboardmag.com/gronowski.