How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, who has often been confused with keyboardist/pianist Lonnie Liston Smith, is perhaps best known for his work with guitarist George Benson and saxophonist Lou Donaldson. Smith’s fiery, funky, R&B-based approach made him the ideal soul-jazz accompanist. Compared to these early efforts, The Turbanator is a rather mellow, albeit very enjoyable, outing. Perhaps that is why this previously unreleased session, which was recorded in 1991, sat on the shelf all those years. This is not to say that The Turbanator is not without its surprises and delights. The rollicking opening track, Caravan should please Smith’s fans who like their funk hot and spicy but on the next cut, the B-3 whiz takes an entirely different approach. Smith switches to piano to perform a lovely, laid-back version of his original, Night Song. It may not be a barn burner but I pick this slow, blues-drenched number, which features some fine octave work by guitarist Jimmy Ponder, as one of the CD’s highlights. The Turbanator closes with the deeply grooved Brushin’ It, where Smith, Houston Person (tenor sax), Buster Williams (bass), Buddy Williams (drums) and the aforementioned Jimmy Ponder, all get to strut their stuff. ####
Track Listing: 1. Caravan, 2. Night Song, 3. Someday My Prince Will Come, 4. River Walk, 5. Monk Could Swing, 6. Cherokee, 7. Brushin' It
Personnel: Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ), Houston Person (tenor sax), Jimmy Ponder (guitar), Buster Williams (bass), Buddy Williams (drums)