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Dr. Lonnie Smith: Boogaloo To Beck

Jim Santella By

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On this tribute, the songs of Beck serve as a starting point from which Dr. Lonnie Smith and his ensemble launch soulful interpretations. The groove runs deep, and Smith’s animated motions can have you boogaloo-ing at your seat in minutes. The organist’s spontaneous tirades turn loose the reins for a wild ride.

His partner for this session, Doug Munro, arranged the music and adds a smooth, laid-back guitar accompaniment. Munro’s heated solo interludes contribute a sparkle to the session, while his pairing with tenor saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman on selected numbers tends to mellow the outcome. Both guitar and saxophone emphasize the lyrical quality of Beck’s melodies, keeping a cool strut in tow. Lafrae Sci punctuates with a driving backbeat rhythm that minimizes her role to that of timekeeper. Together, the ensemble eases its way along a predictable path of rock anthems.

It’s Smith’s energized stretches that carry the day. In his usual carefree manner, the leader tosses out fierce musical statements that turn the program this way and that. “Where It’s At,” in particular, surges with an emotional intensity because of the way Smith picks up the interior of the piece. On this lovely tune, Munro weaves a blues-tinged, vocal-like guitar theme around Sci’s struttin’ rhythmic beat. In contrast, the organist surges ahead with a high-steppin’, soul-jazz attitude to fan the flames. As the music heats up, Smith pays homage to Beck’s songs in his own way.

The ensemble interprets Beck amicably, leaving little doubt about the lasting popularity of his music. From the jazz side of the family, Dr. Lonnie Smith has seen fit to pump it up a notch and merge two concepts into one enjoyable album.

Track Listing: Paper Tiger; Tropicalia; Mixed Buziness; The New Pollution; Devil

Personnel: Dr. Lonnie Smith- Hammond organ; David

Title: Boogaloo To Beck | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Scufflin

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