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


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Live At The Troubadour 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Troubadour 1969
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "No White Shoes" CD/LP/Track Review No White Shoes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "New World" CD/LP/Track Review New World
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "Tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review Tomorrow
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!