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Dr Lonnie Smith – The Best Jazz Organist?

 

Dr Lonnie Smith – Organ, Hammond B3 – Born July 3, 1942

 

Through the years I’ve heard of organist Lonnie Smith or Dr Lonnie Smith as he is known now, but until today I’ve never listened to his music. Big mistake! The album Too Damn Hot came up on my “Just for You” on MOG and I saw the organ and said that’s good for me and it was great! Smith’s career has spanned over 50 years and he’s played with a Who’s Who of greats in jazz, he started with  the George Benson Quartet and then more on to a solo career. From his website:

Dr Lonnie SmithDr. Lonnie Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist. An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ for over five decades, he has been featured on over seventy albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry. Consequently, he has often been hailed as a “Legend,” a “Living Musical Icon,” and as the most creative jazz organist by a slew of music publications. Jazz Times magazine describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban!” Always ahead of the curve, it is no surprise Dr. Smith’s fan-base is truly worldwide.

….And worldly awards have followed. Since 1969, when Downbeat magazine named him “Top Organist” of that year, Dr. Lonnie Smith has won a plethora of critics’ polls as the world’s premier organist/keyboardist. Moreover, he was recently inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, as well as the Jazz Organ Fellowship’s Hall of Fame. In 2012, Dr. Smith launched his own recording and production company—Pilgrimage Productions—for which he will soon release a blazing new live trio album, as well as the first installment of the Dr. Smith songbook series, a program designed to shed light on the organist’s vast (yet often overlooked) career as a composer.Full Biography

Along with the above Smith has also been voted “Organ Keyboardist of the Year” in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009 by the Jazz Journalist Association. So let’s go into the night with “the Whip” from Dr. Lonnie Smith! Here’s what Allmusic says about “The Whip” and the album. Too Damn Hot!

“The Whip,” a slippery funky hard bopper that recalls Johnny Patton’s sessions with Grant Green. There are two covers present here as well, a fine version of Horace Silver‘s ballad “Silver Serenade” and a whimsical read of “Someday My Prince Will Come.” The album’s final cut, “Evil Turn,” cooks like mad in stunning bop fashion. This is a keeper and Smith’s best record of the decade so far. Full Review

Links for the Further Explorations of the Music of Dr. Lonnie Smith

Dr Lonnie Smith’s Website
Facebook
Wikipedia
Dr Lonnie Smith on NPR Jazz Set
All About Jazz

2015 Update: Checkout Dr Lonnie Smith’s 2012 release The Healer……It’s great, too! Check It Out!!