- Real Name:Dr. Lonnie Smith
- Not to be confused with Lonnie Liston Smith
- Born July 3, 1942 in Lackawanna, New York
- Genres: Jazz
- Occupation: organist, keyboardist
- Instrument: Hammond B3 Organ
A turban-wearing jazz institution, and one of the few jazz players to specialize in the difficult Hammond B-3 organ, Dr. Lonnie Smith has had a long musical career that may be divided into three distinct sections. In the first, shortly after his discovery, Smith played as a sideman in jazz bands led by others, most notably guitarist George Benson. In the second, Smith led his own band in the late 1960s and early 1970s, at the height of the movement known as soul-jazz. Finally, after a long hiatus from recording, Smith returned in the 1990s with fresh, experimental takes on his earlier styles.
Dr. Lonnie Smith is an accomplished pianist and prominent jazz keyboardist, specializing in the Hammond B3 Organ. He tours extensively and has played alongside many of the world's jazz and rhythm n blues greats, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Grover Washington, Jr., Ron Carter, Lou Donaldson, Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Scott, Frank Foster, Leon Thomas, Willis Jackson, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Etta James, Esther Phillips, The Impressions and The Coasters, to name but a few.
He was born in Lackawanna, New York, into a family with a vocal group and radio program. Smith says that his mother was a major influence on him musically, as she introduced him to gospel, classical, and jazz music. He was part of several vocal ensembles in the 1950s, including the Teen Kings. Art Kubera, the owner of a local music store, gave Smith his first organ, a Hammond B3.
Smith's affinity for R&B melded with his own personal style as he became active in the local music scene. He moved to New York City, where he met George Benson, the guitarist for Jack McDuff's band. Benson and Smith connected on a personal level, and the two formed the George Benson Quartet, featuring Lonnie Smith, in 1966.
After two albums under Benson's leadership, It's Uptown and Cookbook, Smith recorded his first solo album (Finger Lickin' Good) in 1967, with George Benson and Melvin Sparks on guitar, Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax, and Marion Booker on drums. This combination remained stable for the next five years.
After recording several albums with Benson, Smith became a solo recording artist and has since recorded over 30 albums under his own name. Numerous prominent jazz artists have joined Smith on his albums and in his live performances, including Lee Morgan, David "Fathead" Newman, King Curtis, Terry Bradds, Blue Mitchell, and Joe Lovano.
In 1967, Smith met Lou Donaldson, who put him in contact with Blue Note Records. Donaldson asked the quartet to record an album for Blue Note, Alligator Bogaloo. Blue Note signed Smith for the next four albums, all in the soul jazz style, including Think (with Melvin Sparks, Marion Booker, Lee Morgan and David Newman) and Turning Point (with Lee Morgan, Bennie Maupin, Melvin Sparks and Idris Muhammad).
Smith's next album Move Your Hand was recorded at the Club Harlem in Atlantic City, New Jersey in August 1969. The album's reception allowed his reputation to grow beyond the Northeast. He would record another studio album Drives and one more live album Live at Club Mozambique (recorded in Detroit on May 21, 1970) before leaving Blue Note.
In the mid-1970s, Dr. Lonnie Smith converted to Sikhism. Smith has also been referred to from around that time as "Dr. Lonnie Smith" although the honorific does not represent an academic doctorate degree.
Smith toured the northeastern United States heavily during the 1970s. He concentrated largely on smaller neighborhood venues during this period. His sidemen included Ronnie Cuber, Dave Hubbard, Bill Easley and George Adams on sax, Donald Hahn on trumpet, George Benson and Larry McGee on guitars, and Joe Dukes, Sylvester Goshay, Phillip Terrell, Marion Booker, Jimmy Lovelace, Charles Crosby, Art Gore, Norman Connors and Bobby Durham on drums.
Smith has performed at several prominent jazz festivals with artists including Grover Washington, Jr., Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Lou Donaldson and Ron Holloway. He has also played with musicians outside of jazz, such as Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Etta James, Joan Cartwright, and Esther Phillips.
He was named the "Organ Keyboardist of the Year" in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009 by the Jazz Journalist Association.
Lonnie Smith — not to be confused with keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith — was born in Buffalo, New York, on July 3, 1942.
At about 20, he learned to play the organ by ear. His biggest influence was organist Jimmy Smith, whom he met a few months after he started playing. Before long, Lonnie Smith had enough keyboard skills to accompany traveling Motown-label vocalists when they came to town needing a pickup band.
About a year after he started playing, Smith rented his organ for a week to Brother Jack McDuff. While McDuff was performing with alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson (probably at Buffalo's Pine Grill club), friends of Smith's in the audience called out to McDuff, encouraging him to let Smith play. The organist complied, and Smith had a ready-made audience of influential jazz people that included guitarist George Benson, a major pop star a decade later.
Smith made the most of the opportunity. Benson at the time was forming a band of his own and offered Smith a place in it. After a quick rehearsal at Benson's mother's house, Smith became a touring jazz musician. Times were hard for the little-known group, and Smith recalled at one point having to grab waitresses' tips from restaurant tables in order to get by.
But things improved fast. Working with Benson for several years, Smith began his recording career on Benson's albums on the Columbia label. He sometimes played piano as well as organ, but the organ was his central focus.
Smith moved to New York and worked with Lou Donaldson later in the 1960s, contributing organ grooves to Donaldson's hit Alligator Boogaloo.
Moving to the Blue Note label, Smith recorded the best-known music of his career. Such albums as Think! and 'Drives' fit the basic soul-jazz pattern but showed Smith's tremendous talents as a sheer improviser.
Smith recorded for a variety of smaller labels throughout the 1970s, slowing down somewhat as soul-jazz lost its appeal but never falling out of favor with his fellow musicians. During the period of his Blue Note albums he was still simply Lonnie Smith, but later he became Dr. Lonnie Smith — a title bestowed not by any academic institution but by musicians who called on Smith to "doctor" pieces they were struggling with. Smith also began wearing a turban.
During the 1980s, Smith was mostly absent from the recording scene. He continued to perform with rhythm-and-blues singers as well as with jazz groups. He appeared as a sideman on albums by other artists, and in 1990 he reunited with Lou Donaldson for the latter's Play the Right Thing album.
By the 1990s Smith, who had six children, had moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He recorded several more albums with e.g. Donaldson, and the new exposure for his playing also led Blue Note to reissue some of his classic albums of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
- 1966: Finger-lickin' good (Columbia)
- 1968: Think! (Blue Note)
- 1969: Turning Point (Blue Note)
- 1969: Move Your Hand (live), (Blue Note)
- 1970: Drives (Blue Note)
- 1970: Live at Club Mozambique (Blue Note)
- 1971: Mama Wailer (Kudu)
- 1975: When the Night is Right! (Chiaroscuro)
- 1975: Afrodesia (Groove Merchant)
- 1976: Keep on Lovin' (Groove Merchant)
- 1977: Funk Reaction
- 1978: Gotcha (TK)
- 1993: Afro Blue (Music Masters)
- 1994: Foxy Lady: a Tribute to Hendrix (Music Masters)
- 1995: Purple Haze: a tribute to Jimi Hendrix (Music Masters)
- 2000: The Turbanator (32 Jazz)
- 2003: Boogaloo to Beck: A Tribute (Scufflin')
- 2004: Too Damn Hot (Palmetto)
- 2006: Jungle Soul (Palmetto)
- 2009: Rise Up! (Palmetto)
- 2010: Spiral (Palmetto)
- 1980: Flavors
Более подробная дискография (как лидер и сайдмен)Edit
- 1965 Red Holloway - Red Soul
- 1966 George Benson - It's Uptime
- 1966 Lonnie Smith - Finger-Lickin' Good Soul Organ
- 1966 George Benson - The George Benson Cookbook
- 1967 Lou Donaldson - Alligator Bogaloo
- 1967 Lou Donaldson - Mr. Shing-A-Ling
- 1968 Lou Donaldson - Midnight Creeper
- 1968 Lonnie Smith - Think!
- 1969 Lonnie Smith - Turning Point
- 1969 Lonnie Smith - Move Your Hand
- 1969 Lou Donaldson - Everything I Play Is Funky
- 1970 Lonnie Smith - Drives
- 1970 Lonnie Smith - Live At Club Mozambique
- 1971 Lonnie Smith - Mama Wailer
- 1975 Lonnie Smith - Afrodesia (compilation from Afro-Desia and Funk Reaction)
- 1976 Lonnie Smith - Keep On Lovin'
- 1977 Lonnie Smith - Funk Reaction
- 1988 Jimmy Ponder - To Reach A Dream
- 1991 Lonnie Smith - The Turbanator
- 1993 Lonnie Smith - Afro Blue
- 1993 Lou Donaldson - Caracas
- 1993 Lonnie Smith - The Art Of Organizing
- 1994 Lonnie Smith - Foxy Lady
- 1994 Lonnie Smith - Purple Haze
- 1994 Lou Donaldson - Sentimental Journey
- 1996 Essence All Stars - Organic Grooves
- 1998 Ximo Tebar - Goes Blue
- 1999 Jimmy McGriff - McGriff's House Party
- 2000 Bobby Broom - Modern Man
- 2002 Lonnie Smith - Boogaloo To Beck
- 2003 Crash - The Doctor Is In
- 2004 Lonnie Smith - Too Damn Hot!
- 2005 Lonnie Smith - Jungle Soul
- 2007 Saori Yano - Little Tiny
- 2008 Lonnie Smith - Rise Up!
- 2010 Lonnie Smith - Spiral