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Dr Lonnie Smith: Evolution

Angelo Leonardi By

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Inizia col contagioso groove di "Play It Back" il nuovo disco di Lonnie Smith, tornato a incidere con la Blue Note dopo 45 anni d'assenza. L'organista lo scrisse negli anni d'oro dell'hammond B-3, alla fine dei sessanta, ha sempre tenuto il brano in repertorio e oggi lo ripropone nel nuovo gruppo con due batteristi e Robert Glasper ospite al pianoforte.

Il 73enne organista di Lackawanna non va confuso con Lonnie Liston Smith, il tastierista che fu partner di Miles Davis e Gato Barbieri. Lonnie è uno degli storici e più eccitanti organisti in circolazione. Non è un redivivo riemerso sull'onda dell'hammond revival e nell'ultimo ventennio ha inciso ottimi album per le etichette Music Masters, Palmetto e Pilgrimage, tra cui i recenti The Healer e Spiral.

Don Was, il nuovo presidente della Blue Note, è un amante di blues e soul ed ha pensato bene di riportarlo "a casa." Del suo recente trio, Dr. Lonnie Smith ha tenuto il bravo chitarrista Jonathan Kreisberg, inserito in una formazione con altri fidati partner come il sassofonista John Ellis e il batterista Johnathan Blake. Per attrarre anche il pubblico del jazz più rigoroso Don Was ha coinvolto un altro big dell'etichetta, Joe Lovano, che rinnova la collaborazione con l'organista dopo la giovanile partecipazione al suo disco del 1975, Afrodesia.

Il disco si snoda in un percorso musicale ritmicamente convulso, dove atmosfere soul e funky costituiscono il substrato per lunghi e frenetici assoli. Il brano più energizzante è sicuramente il citato "Play It Back," che si snoda per 14 minuti tra il serrato intervento di Glasper, i successivi eccitanti assoli di Keyon Harrold alla tromba, John Ellis al tenore e quello variopinto del leader. Il tutto su un tappeto ritmico tanto elastico quanto frastagliato.

La formula non cambia negli altri brani anche se "My Favorite Things" tende a dilungarsi, all'inizio e alla fine, in inutili esplorazioni timbriche. Molto meglio il serrato e boppistico "Straight No Chaser," il diretto funk di "Talk About This" o la soul ballad "For Heaven's Sake," dove il magniloquente tenore di Lovano contribuisce al suo fascino senza bisogno d'intervenire in assolo.

Track Listing: Play It Back' Afrodesia; For Heaven's Sake; Straight No Chaser; Talk About This; My Favorite Things; African Suite.

Personnel: Dr. Lonnie Smith: Hammond B-3 organ, keyboards (6, 7); Robert Glasper: piano (1); Joe Lovano: G mezzo soprano saxophone (2), tenor saxophone (3); Johnathan Blake: drums; Joe Dyson: drums (1-3, 5, 7); Jonathan Kreisberg: guitar; Keyon Harrold: trumpet (1); Maurice Brown: trumpet (2, 3, 5); John Ellis: tenor saxophone (1, 2, 5), bass clarinet: (3), flute (7);

Title: Evolution | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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