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Jazz Articles | Blog

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Dr. Lonnie Smith: Then and Now – Think! (1968) vs Evolution (2016)

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The “doctor" with the mysterious turban and manic Hammond B-3 fingers is back. And if you think the old man at 73 can't possibly match the passion and pyrotechnics of the young man at 26... well, surprise! Evolution is Dr. Lonnie Smith's triumphant return to Blue Note. I feared it might be like a Beatles “reunion" of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr--a sentimental experiment that's bound to disappoint. I bought Evolution and resigned myself to liking Smith's younger ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dr. Lonnie Smith: Evolution

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Artist repatriation seems to be something of a theme in the Don Was era of Blue Note Records. In 2013 there was the return of saxophonist Wayne Shorter, a jazz giant who delivered many of his landmark '60s albums on this storied imprint. Then, in 2015, Charles Lloyd left ECM for Blue Note, a label that had previously held one Lloyd album in its portfolio. Now, as 2016 arrives, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith returns to the fold. ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2014

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Saratoga Performing Arts Center Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival Saratoga Springs, NY June 28-29, 2014 Perfect weather accented this years Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, an event that had an eclectic mix of young musicians with interesting ideas and approaches, and veterans who deliver consistently. The weather is always a factor because it's primarily an outdoor festival for two days, on two stages, at the beautiful Saratoga Performing Arts Center. (There is some covered amphitheater ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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

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B-3 specialist Dr. Lonnie Smith retools a dozen original compositions from early in his career and performs them live with an octet on In The Beginning, Volumes 1 & 2. Drawing material from his recordings, Finger-Lickin' Good (Columbia, 1966), Think! (Blue Note, 1968), Turning Point (Blue Note, 1969) and Move Your Hand (Blue Note, 1969), Smith, with the help of saxophonist Ian Hendrickson-Smith, cast this music against the rich palette of a horn-heavy little-big band. On these ...

INTERVIEWS

Dr. Lonnie Smith: But Beautiful

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Dr. Lonnie Smith-organist, composer, bandleader and now principal of Pilgrimage Records-is the Cheshire cat of jazz. He's been part of the scene for so long that, even though he's there, he sometimes disappears from view; when you do get a glimpse, the last thing you see and the first thing you remember is his warm and wise Buddha smile. Dr. Lonnie Smith smiles like he knows that he knows something that most people don't even know that they don't know.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dr. Lonnie Smith: The Healer

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Dr. Lonnie Smith has always addressed organ traditions on his own terms. He seems to intentionally avoid clichés and marketplace trends, preferring instead to chart his own course, so it's beautifully ironic that he's become something of a trendy figure-to-follow for the jazz-meets-jam crowd. While Smith recently attained septuagenarian status, he shows no signs of developing a conservative crust or going musically gentle into that good night. The Healer, culled from material recorded at the 2011 Lamantin Jazz Festival in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dr. Lonnie Smith: Spiral

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Vitality and age might be normally be at odds with one another, but not when discussing Dr. Lonnie Smith--the inimitable organ shaman of the modern soul-jazz epoch. Whether turning in clever takes on the music of indie rocker Beck, recasting familiar standards in his organic organ mold or shaping his own compositions to his liking, Smith never seems to be short on ideas. He furthers the traditional role of the organ in small-group jazz and puts a modern slant on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dr. Lonnie Smith: Rise Up!

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For a half-century the incomparable Dr. Lonnie Smith has been a prime mover on the organ, an instrument he has called, paradoxically, “the monster" and “the love of my life." Rise Up! is a gumbo of originals and covers spiced with generous helpings of rhythm and blues, rock and gospel. Smith's “A Matterapat" showcases Donald Harrison's sharp alto sax and Peter Bernstein's feathery guitar riffs, with Smith's organ going straight to the gut. “Tyrone" is a New ...


All About Vince Guaraldi!

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