Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Dr. Lonnie Smith: In the Beginning, Volumes 1 & 2

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Dr. Lonnie Smith’s new two-disc album is not only his most invigorating effort in years, it’s also one of the most exciting Hammond B-3 albums in some time. Credit the octet format on several tracks for adding heaps of energy and pizzazz. And credit arranger Ian Hendrickson-Smith for skillfully polishing the various facets of Smith’s style on this collection of originals, which reaches back to the ’60s via the soulful fuss of “Keep Talkin’,” the blues testifying of “Aw Shucks,” the slinky sensuality of “Slow High” and the funky soul of “Move Your Hand,” featuring a vocal from the good Dr.

Ultimately, though, it’s the exceptional trio at the core of this live recording that matters most. Smith’s command of the organ is remarkable-dig his mesmerizing, multiphonic-like running of separate but equal lines. Onetime Dizzy Gillespie guitarist Ed Cherry’s melodic snap and drummer Johnathan Blake’s adrenalized-in-the-groove strokes-especially on the psychedelic swinger “Turning Point”-enliven the classic sound. The trio (sometimes joined by conga player Little Johnny Rivero) doesn’t need the horns (saxophonists Hendrickson-Smith and John Ellis and trumpeter Andy Gravish) to produce powerhouse moments.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published