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Monday, August 15, 2011

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Dr. Lonnie Smith (born July 3, 1942 in Lackawanna, New York) is a jazz Hammond B3 organist and pianist.

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.


as a lider
1968: Think! (Blue Note)
1969: Turning Point (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) part 1 \ part 2
1994: Foxy Lady: a Tribute to 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)

as a sideman

1965:Red Holloway - Red Soul
1988:Jimmy Ponder - To Reach A Dream part1 \ part2
1993:Lou Donaldson - Caracas 
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
2003:Crash - The Doctor Is In
2007:Saori Yano - Little Tiny


Dr. Lonnie Smith discography at


Simon666 said...

Whoah ... excellent work Vel_Kam :)

Vel_Kam said...

Tnx, Simon666!..Another great organist.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Lou Donaldson's Caracas Part 2 is actually pointing to the second file for the alternative version of Afro Blue. But thank you for the wealth of great music in any case. Wonderful stuff!

SelfScience said...

Vel Kam & Zand,

You two are doing a wonderful job with the blog. I really appreciate all the music that you are sharing with the community. I am learning so much. You have given Blax-Jive a new meaning.

During my time off I was deciding on which site (Pride or Jive) to do re-uploads. I chose to do Blax-Pride because of the movies taking the longest to upload. I have finished re-upping all of the movies and most of the soundtracks. My next goal is to come back to Blax-Jive and start the re-upping process for earlier post. I can not guarantee when I will be able to do this, but I will at some point. I know I don't comment much anymore, but I do come here from time to time to see what has transpired here at Blax-Jive.

You two have really created something people can come to and appreciate music in it purest form and I thank you for being the good persons you are.

Simon I would like to also extend my gratitude to you as well. You have also came through on this site and keep it maintained and I can not thank you enough for just being the soul brother you are.

Thanks for everything fellas.


Vel_Kam said...

Thank you,Anonymous, now all fixed.:)

Vel_Kam said...

Thank you,Self-Science, for your kind words! Music really brings people of all races and religions! Peace and prosperity of our planet!

zand said...

Thank You!!! Really great job!!!

Ian G said...

Gotcha "GOTCHA" c/o My Jazz World
Top Doc Discog c/o Doug Payne

Tarkus said...

This is a FUNKTASTIC blog!

Vel_Kam said...

Ian Van Groove,tnx for links.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Vel_Kam!

Visit Blaxpploitation Pride for information on your favorite blaxploitation movies and soundtracks.