Dr. Lonnie Smith. Benedict Smith/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Benedict Smith/Courtesy of the artist

Dr. Lonnie Smith.

Benedict Smith/Courtesy of the artist

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio On JazzSet

Hammond B3 organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith recently led his trio through a soulful set before a sold-out house at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club in Washington, D.C. The good doctor turns 70 this year, and he's still a leader and innovator on his instrument. He's also gaining a whole new audience, as young musicians and producers sample his deep, relentless grooves.

His guitarist, Jonathan Kreisberg, says that while Smith has recorded some fine studio albums over the years, his music really needs to be heard live to get the full experience. The full array of his artistry is on display throughout this set, which features several tunes off his new album, The Healer, including a mellow version of "Mellow Mood" — written by another organ legend, Jimmy Smith. Dr. Lonnie Smith shows his playful side with a cinematic suite that begins with Harold Mabern's "Beehive" (Smith plays the distinctive Miles Davis-ish "trumpet" lines on one of his many effects pedals), which segues into a surging version of "My Favorite Things." The set closes with "Play It Back," one of the funkiest tunes off Smith's epic album, Live at Club Mozambique, and "Pilgrimage" — the kind of slow, powerful groove that is as much his trademark as are his turban and long white beard.

It's been a long and amazing trip for Dr. Lonnie Smith since the Buffalo, N.Y., native first won Best Organist honors from Downbeat magazine in 1969. This coming May, he plays the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Blue Note label's 75th anniversary concert at the Kennedy Center.

Set List
  • "Mellow Mood" (Jimmy Smith)
  • "When Lights Are Low" (Benny Carter)
  • "Beehive" (Harold Mabern)
  • "My Favorite Things" (Rogers & Hammerstein)
  • "Frame For The Blues" (Slide Hampton)
  • "Play It Back" (Dr. Lonnie Smith)
  • "Pilgrimage" (Dr. Lonnie Smith)
Personnel
  • Dr. Lonnie Smith, Hammond B3 organ
  • Jonathan Kreisberg, guitar
  • Jamire Williams, drums
Credits

Scriptwriter and producer: Mark Schramm; Recording engineer and Surround Sound mixer: Duke Markos; Special thanks to Kevin Struthers, Jean Thill and Greg Hartman of Kennedy Center Jazz.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Meredith D'Ambrosio appears on the cover of her 1981 album Another Time. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Meredith D'Ambrosio On Piano Jazz

The vocalist, pianist, visual artist and teacher joined Marian McPartland in 1994.

Meredith D'Ambrosio On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/504133599/504135813" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lonnie Liston Smith on the cover of Astral Traveling (1973). Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Lonnie Liston Smith On Piano Jazz

One of contemporary music's most versatile keyboardists, Smith joined Marian McPartland in 2002.

Lonnie Liston Smith In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/503335536/503336370" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Nellie Lutcher. William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Nellie Lutcher On Piano Jazz

Hear the vocalist and pianist play her original tunes "Hurry On Down" and "Real Gone Guy."

Nellie Lutcher On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/502487319/502603441" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Richard "Dick" Sudhalter appears on the cover of The Classic Jazz Quartet: The Complete Recordings. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Richard Sudhalter On Piano Jazz

The cornetist and critic performs "Chasing Shadows" with Marian McPartland in a 1992 session.

Richard Sudhalter On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/501714165/501719238" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Billy Strayhorn (right), spent the majority of his career as a composer and arranger for Duke Ellington (left) and his orchestra. David Redfern/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption David Redfern/Getty Images

Jazz Night In America

The Lush Life Of Billy Strayhorn

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

He was remarkable not only for his music, but for living as an openly gay black man in the '40s.

The Lush Life Of Billy Strayhorn

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/500504682/500512491" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jackie Cain and Roy Kral at the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society in Half Moon Bay, Calif., in 1982. Brian McMillen/Wikimedia Commons hide caption

toggle caption Brian McMillen/Wikimedia Commons

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Jackie And Roy On Piano Jazz

Hear the husband-and-wife duo join Marian McPartland for a trio version of "Joy Spring."

Jackie And Roy On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/497936484/497939089" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Oliver Jones. Michael Slobodian/Michael Slobodian hide caption

toggle caption Michael Slobodian/Michael Slobodian

Jazz Night In America

Oliver Jones: A Canadian Jazz Legend Heads Home

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

In Canada, jazz pianist Oliver Jones is a hero, adored in his native Quebec and across the country.

Oliver Jones: A Canadian Jazz Legend Heads Home

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/497793760/497806357" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Chucho Valdés. Elmer Martinez/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Elmer Martinez/AFP/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Chucho Valdés On Piano Jazz

Hear the innovator in Latin jazz play his original compositions "Claudia" and "Mambo Influenciado."

Chucho Valdés On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/496891193/497008290" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top