422

Dr. Lonnie Smith: Jungle Soul

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Dr. Lonnie Smith: Jungle Soul Hammond B-3 master Dr. Lonnie Smith returns with a soulful, funky session of straight-ahead grooves and smoldering moods on Jungle Soul. After a series of focused tributes to individual musicians (John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix and Beck, respectively), this release finds the good doctor drawing from classic and original source material for an enjoyable theme ride through the proverbial dark continent.

Joined by a stripped-down organ combo lineup of guitar and drums, Smith charts a course of smoldering intensity. Guitarist Peter Bernstein works with Palmetto Records producer Matt Balitsaris, who plays rhythm and acoustic guitar here. Both players hold forth with a bright, clean tone and sinuous linearity, matching Smith's rumbling undulations with their own searing highs. Up and coming drummer Allison Miller demonstrates ambitious creativity and excellent chops on a session full of subtle surprises. Whether locking into straight-ahead swing grooves or mimicking entire African drum choirs, Miller never falters.

From the easy going blues grooves of "Trouble Man" and "Simone" to the sultry funk grind of "Witch Doctor" and manic thrill ride of "Zimbabwe," Smith and his cohorts pilot a journey through scenic terrain. The tender ballad "Blue Moment" finds Smith at his most dulcet and reflective, while "Jungle Wisdom" reveals a more experimental side as he plays pneumatically, generating marimba like tones from his B-3. Miller sets up a barrage of percussive effects, emulating multiple hand drummers with polyrhythmic flair.

Smith takes a laid-back approach overall, with only a moment or two of relative abandon. Breathing fresh life into a regal chestnut like "Willow Weep for Me," Smith ratchets up the intensity level in a boisterous, rambunctious solo of gospel-like intensity. Other standards receive a similarly unique treatment. "Bemsha Swing" oozes darkness, played with gauzy chording and a slinky tempo, while "Freedom Jazz Dance" takes on an Africanized sheen, complete with funky, modulated polyrhythmic effects.

As jazz records go, Jungle Soul qualifies as a perfect summer album. While it may be enjoyable in the light of day, its smoky, dark ambience lends itself perfectly to late night moods.

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: guitar; Matt Balitsaris: guitar; Allison Miller: drums, percussion.

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


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960 CD/LP/Track Review Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Chapter Five CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read The Hive CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Just Get In" CD/LP/Track Review Just Get In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "The Hive" CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Sharpener" CD/LP/Track Review Sharpener
by Nick Davies
Published: December 21, 2016
Read "Fellow Creatures" CD/LP/Track Review Fellow Creatures
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Free for One" CD/LP/Track Review Free for One
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 15, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!