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The Lonnie Smith Trio: Afro Blue

Glenn Astarita By

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Veteran organist Lonnie Smith pays homage to John Coltrane on this new release, supported once again by guitarist John Abercrombie and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith. The title cut is a mid-tempo burner that relies heavily on the original Trane interpretation of Mongo Santamaria's classic composition. Nothing new or innovative here but honorable mention goes to the great John Abercrombie. His soloing is reminiscent of the early 70's gem "Timeless."

Abercrombie's angular and unusual phrasing serves as a perfect match for Smith's melodic comping and enticing Hammond B3 overtones. Marvin "Smitty" Smith as usual is the perfect accompaniast and provides the neccessary dynamics to heighten the intensity. "Impressions" is lively and spirited. "Naima" serves as a brief interlude. "Traces of Trane" is a Smith original and "Lonnie's Lament" burns with passion and conviction. "Bessies Blues" is a tasty arrangement and ends the set with a bang. Basically, a well executed and delightful recording. It won't set the world on fire — but what we have here is good working-class, no-frills jazz!

Track Listing:

Afro Blue, Impressions, Naima, Traces of Love, Lonnie's Lament, Bessie's Blues

Title: Afro Blue | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Musicmasters

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