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Lonney Smith Trio: Foxy Lady

Since the Seventies, organist Lonnie Smith has been an underappreciated purveyor of improvisational funk. His many recordings are dissected and devoured by acid jazz acolytes, his live performances almost mythic. While any new recording by Smith is always cause for celebration, Foxy Lady-tribute to Jimi Hendrix is, sadly, a disappointment.

To be blunt, Smith and his bandmates (John Abercrombie; guitar, Marvin “Smittty” Smith; drums) just don’t ‘get’ Hendrix. Their renditions of “Foxy Lady” and “Castles Made of Sand-Star Spangled Banner” are too self-consciously ‘jazzy’ exercises that are almost unrecognizable as tunes from the master. Only “Third Stone From the Sun” manages to tap into Hendrix’s gestalt of space, skronk and groove (let’s not mention the clichéd album closer “Jimi Meets Miles,”). A missed opportunity by a great band.

Originally Published