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Dr. Lonnie Smith: Jungle Soul

Jim Santella By

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Dr. Lonnie Smith: Jungle Soul Reaching down deep inside and interpreting ten pieces with moving feeling, Dr. Lonnie Smith leads his trio through a program filled with soulful emotion on Jungle Soul.

Jungle Soul lets the good doctor turn it loose. He's subtle, and yet he's got a groove going on. Organ, guitar drums and percussion lead the way as we journey through exotic lands. Similarly, "Zimbabwe charts a course for excitement and adventure, but with a faster, driving ambience, as Smith's trio brings impressions from distant places. "Witch Doctor comes equipped with a laid-back rhythmic groove that calls for soulful meditation, while "Jungle Wisdom permeates the senses as thoroughly as a long walk with nature.

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Smith's career took off with George Benson in the mid-1960s when the two players laid a strong guitar/organ foundation that oozed with soul. Smith has always had a distinctive sound, which he applies on Jungle Soul to several jazz generations. "Willow Weep for Me and "Bemsha Swing have been around for a long time. Both provide excellent sources of creative improvisation for Smith and his trio.

Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance rocks hard as Smith turns up the heat little by little, while "Blue Moment searches casually for spiritual reflection. This time out, the fires come to us on subtle wings. With Jungle Soul, the good doctor has seen fit to prescribe music for the soul, music with an underlying groove, and music that connects with our innermost thoughts.


Track Listing: Trouble Man; Simone; Jungle Soul; Willow Weep for Me; Freedom Jazz Dance; Blue Moment; Witch Doctor; Bemsha Swing; Zimbabwe; Jungle Wisdom.

Personnel: Dr. Lonnie Smith: organ; Peter Bernstein, Matt Balitsaris: guitar; Allison Miller: drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Palmetto Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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