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Dr. Lonnie Smith: All in My Mind (Blue Note)

Review of album from influential organist with his working trio, plus special guests

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Cover of Dr. Lonnie Smith album All in My Mind
Cover of Dr. Lonnie Smith album All in My Mind

Judging from these seven live tracks, Dr. Lonnie Smith’s celebratory 75th birthday stand at New York’s Jazz Standard this past summer must have been a soulful gas. With his prismatic swirls, dramatic gestures, tidal swells and unforeseen detours, Smith delights in defining the young-at-heart aesthetic.

A variable-intensity trio showcase, All in My Mind touches on low-key beauty with “On a Misty Night,” dabbles with slick suggestions during “Devika” and plays with fire on a rolling and rollicking “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” with guest Joe Dyson on drums. Smith artfully controls the dynamic within his band, but there’s a sense of shared responsibility with guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg when it comes to taking the music beyond the horizon. Kreisberg’s guitar, painting darting dark-blue lines against Smith’s polychromatic scrims, is something magical to behold. And regular trio drummer Johnathan Blake, not to be left out of the conversation, proves to be a pure and potent force in the equation.

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