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Dr. Lonnie Smith: Breathe

La-Faithia White   BY

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Dr. Lonnie Smith: Breathe
Dr. Lonnie Smith, guru of the Hammond B3 organ for over five decades, now releases eight songs, six of which were recorded live in 2017 at The Jazz Standard in New York City, during his seventy-fifth birthday. In December 2020, The Jazz Standard closed because of the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic which has taken the lives of many jazz clubs throughout the USA.

The opening song, "Why Can't We Live Together," is a remake of the 1972 R&B classic written and performed by Timmy Thomas. The song was a plea for peace during the Vietnam War. Hearing the song decades later with such phrases as 'no more war, no more war,' is a haunting reminder of the Afghanistan war the USA has been fighting since the attack of September 11th, 2001.

Rock icon Iggy Pop is on vocals with his raspy, ghostly and chilling voice. The collaboration between Pop and Smith on "Why Can't We Live Together" and "Sunshine Superman"—a remake of Donovan's 1966 classic—is priceless. On "Bright Eyes," Smith delivers a classic upbeat jazzy tempo on the Hammond B3 organ, along with smooth-sounding winds of the trumpet, and a pleasing saxophone solo.

"World Weeps" is poetry in motion, a passionately led protest of rhythm guitar, a marching drum beat, and a relentless Hammond B3 organ. "Pilgrimage" is a triumphant journey of vocals by mezzo-soprano Alicia Olatuja, and the rhythm guitar which both complement the playing of Smith on the Hammond B3 organ.

Listening to Breathe, a prescription of music which was beautifully written by Smith and originally recorded in 2016, makes it very relevant for the times that we are living in.

Track Listing

Why Can’t We Live Together; Bright Eyes; Too Damn Hot; Track 9; World Weeps; Pilgrimage; Epistrophy; Sunshine Superman.

Personnel

Dr. Lonnie Smith: organ, Hammond B3; Jonathan Kreisberg: guitar; Johnathan Blake: drums; Sean Jones: trumpet; Robin Eubanks: trombone; John Ellis: saxophone, tenor; Jason W. Marshall: saxophone, baritone; Alicia Olatuja: voice / vocals; Iggy Pop: voice / vocals.

Album information

Title: Breathe | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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