Dr. Lonnie Smith, for decades one of the most influential organists in jazz, will celebrate his upcoming 70th birthday by recording his first entirely self-produced album. Smith will cut the album in front of a studio audience in Queens, N.Y., and will release it on his own new company, Pilgrimage Productions. The three dates, Tuesday through Thursday evenings this week (March 27-29), will be recorded straight to analog tape and the entire event will also be filmed for a DVD release.
Accompanying Smith for the session will be Jason Brown (drums), “Little” Johnny Rivero (congas), Ed Cherry (guitar), Andy Gravish (trumpet), Ian Hendrickson-Smith (alto saxophone, woodwinds), John Ellis (tenor saxophone, woodwinds) and Jason Marshall (baritone saxophone, woodwinds). The ensemble will play music from Smith’s 1966-71 songbook as well as previously urecorded compositions.
Smith is seeking support from fans via a Kickstarter campaign. Donations may be made in amounts ranging from $5 to $10,000 and donors will receive various bonus gifts depending on the amount pledged. Smith will only receive the pledged funds if the entire goal of $20,000 is reached by April 20.