All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

422

Dr. Lonnie Smith: Jungle Soul

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
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, Matt Balitsaris: guitar; Allison Miller: drums, percussion.

Title: Jungle Soul | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Palmetto Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

In Pictures
Best of / Year End
My Blue Note Obsession
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Evolution

Evolution

Blue Note Records
2016

buy
Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet - In The Beginning, Volumes 1 & 2

Dr. Lonnie Smith...

Pilgrimage Productions
2013

buy
The Healer

The Healer

Pilgrimage Productions
2012

buy
Spiral

Spiral

Palmetto Records
2010

buy
Rise Up!

Rise Up!

Palmetto Records
2009

buy
 

Rise Up

Palmetto Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Music in Motian CD/LP/Track Review
Music in Motian
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Descansado - Songs For Films CD/LP/Track Review
Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Simbiose CD/LP/Track Review
Simbiose
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read For Lew CD/LP/Track Review
For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Zero" CD/LP/Track Review Zero
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 16, 2018
Read "Falling Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Falling Forward
by James Nadal
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "The Sky Remains" CD/LP/Track Review The Sky Remains
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 4, 2017
Read "Both Sides Of The Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Both Sides Of The Sky
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Cubist" CD/LP/Track Review Cubist
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 3, 2018
Read "Transatlantic" CD/LP/Track Review Transatlantic
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018