When Lonnie Smith cut Boogaloo to Beck in 2003 he made a comeback, though he was never gone in the first place. That record's deeply grooving, funky soul-jazz cut to the chase in a way many jazz organ records hadn't by taking the Blue Note aesthetic of turning the pop tunes of the day – even those as esoteric as Beck Hansen's – and turning them into vehicles for jazz improvisation. On Jungle Soul, the great organist and his quartet – Peter Bernstein on guitar, drummer and percussionist Allison Miller, and rhythm guitarist/producer Matt Balitsaris – tackle some jazz standards – "Bemsha Swing," "Willow Weep for Me," and Eddie Harris' bona fide soul-jazz classic "Freedom Jazz Dancer" – and place them against Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man," and a handful of Smith originals and come up with a stunner.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. George Benson's first LP for Columbia – a hard, heavy, soul jazz slammer that bears no resemblance to his overproduced work of the 70s! The album's a real cooker – recorded hot on the heels of Benson's classic work on Prestige with the Jack McDuff group, and sounding a lot like McDuff's hard wailing organ jazz of the same time. George is working with a group that features a young Lonnie Smith on organ, plus Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Ronnie Cuber on sax, and Charlie Persip on drums – all tightly coming together, and jamming hard on the album's short cooking tracks. Tracks include "Clockwise", "Jaguar", "Hello Birdie", and "Bullfight". Plus, the CD adds five bonus tracks, including "Sideman", "Minor Chant", and the previously unreleased "J.H. Bossa Nova" and "Clockwise (Alternate Take)".
Dr. Lonnie Smith shows no signs of slowing down. Spiral is is his fifth studio album since 2003, and his fourth for Palmetto. Produced by Matt Balitsaris, Smith's trio includes guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Jamire Williams. The program is a solid set of jazz nuggets, an original, and a couple of ballad standards. Things lead off with Jimmy Smith's "Mellow Mood," which is relaxed but hardly what the title suggests. Smith is in prime soul-jazz mode here, paying tribute to his mentor by swinging hard on the melody.
Who says you have to slow down as you get older? The honorable B-3 master, Dr. Lonnie Smith, has been on a renaissance tear since the beginning of the 21st century. Rise Up! is the fifth new recording since 2000, and there have been a number of reissues of his older work to boot. Given that some artists issue a record a year, this may not seem like such a terrific feat – but appearances are deceiving. Smith recorded only 13 albums between 1966 and 1996, so five in nine years is actually prolific. It's not only the quantity, however, it's the consistency of the quality of the records Smith has been releasing that is outstanding, and Rise Up! is no exception.
Hammond B-3 boss Dr. Lonnie Smith ends up on yet another new label with Too Damn Hot!, the follow-up to his thoroughly enjoyable – if curious – Boogaloo to Beck outing from 2003. This studio set places the organist in the company of two fine guitarists – Peter Bernstein (lead) and Rodney Jones (rhythm), and alternating drummers Greg Hutchinson and Fukushi Tainaka. The two-guitar format is lovely in that it presents a wide array of colors and harmonic textures to the proceedings.
One of Lonnie Smith's rarest albums – and one of the most obscure records on the landmark Kudu label! The set is one of Smith's most far-reaching from the 70s – a bit in the mode of his earlier records for Blue Note, but with a slightly sweeter quality that shows the shift to Kudu – where Lonnie's Hammond had lost none of its grooving power!
This reissue features cardboard sleeve jacket (gatefold sleeve). In the early '70s, Lonnie Smith's recordings frequently exhibited a debt to Jimi Hendrix's groundbreaking fusions, but he waited until 1995 to release Foxy Lady, a full-fledged tribute to the innovative guitarist. Foxy Lady was so successful that Smith decided to make another Hendrix album, again with John Abercrombie and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. Purple Haze is as entertaining as Foxy Lady – it's truly remarkable to hear how these blues-rockers can open up into soul-jazz numbers tinged with free jazz influences – and confirms not only Hendrix's composing talents, but also Smith's vision.
This reissue features cardboard sleeve jacket (gatefold sleeve). Jimi Hendrix, taken to the territory of funky Hammond jazz – thanks to a trio that features Lonnie Smith on organ and John Abercrombie on guitar! Abercrombie's lines aren't nearly as freaky and fuzzy as Jimi's, but the groove here is a really nice change – one that almost digs into the inherently soulful elements of Hendrix's music, then turns it further into a vehicle for jazz-based exploration! Marvin Smitty Smith is in drums – and titles include "Third Stone From The Sun", "Foxy Lady", "Castles Made Of Sand/Star Spangled Banner", and "Jimi Meets Miles".
Think!, organist Lonnie Smith's 1968 sophomore effort for Blue Note, is easily one of the strongest dates the Hammond B-3 master would produce for the label. Featuring a stellar group of musicians including trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist David Newman, guitarist Melvin Sparks, and drummer Marion Booker, Jr., as well as a three-member Afro-Latin percussion unit led by Henry "Pucho" Brown, Think! is a perfect mix of funky soul and forward-thinking jazz. Kicking things off with Hugh Masekela's instantly memorable "Son of Ice Bag," both Sparks and Newman take searching funk-flow solos while Morgan seems to be remembering a certain Masekela lick he dug.
Recorded on May 21, 1970, at Detroit's Club Mozambique, this was shelved and remained unreleased until it was retrieved for CD issue in 1995. It's odd that Blue Note decided to sit on it for so long, because it ranks as one of Lonnie's better sets. The band, featuring George Benson on guitar, is relaxed and funky without being in your face about it, and unlike much soul-jazz of the time, most of the material is original, Smith having penned six of the eight numbers. Although the riffs often owe a lot to James Brown, this is definitely at least as much jazz as soul, with Lonnie taking a rare vocal turn on "Peace of Mind."