Pianist and Cosmic Jazz Legend, Lonnie Liston Smith : Bullseye with Jesse Thorn Lonnie Liston Smith is a jazz legend. He's a pianist and keyboard player. He's worked with Pharoah Sanders, Miles Davis and Marvin Gaye. Smith is a master of the Fender Rhodes – the electric piano that helped define a movement in music that eventually became known as Cosmic Jazz. Smith joins us to talk about his first record in 25 years, and his humble beginnings. Plus, Smith's records have been sampled a lot in hip-hop and electronic music. He'll talk about the records that caught him most by surprise.

Pianist and Cosmic Jazz Legend, Lonnie Liston Smith

Pianist and Cosmic Jazz Legend, Lonnie Liston Smith

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Jazz is Dead

Lonnie Liston Smith is a jazz legend.

He's a pianist and keyboard player. He's worked with Pharoah Sanders, Miles Davis and Marvin Gaye. Smith is a master of the Fender Rhodes – the electric piano that helped define a movement in music that eventually became known as Cosmic Jazz.

Cosmic Jazz is having a moment – it's in the work of new jazz vanguards like Kamasi Washington and Terrace Martin. The genre's sound can be heard in acclaimed beat makers like Alchemist and Flying Lotus. Cosmic Jazz can also be heard sampled on tracks from Benny the Butcher and Kendrick Lamar.

It's been 25 years since Smith released his last record. He's toured a little. Seen the occasional royalty check come through for compilations, or yet another sample. But this year, for the first time in a quarter century, Smith dropped a new record.

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Jazz Is Dead 17 is part of a series of albums released by musicians collaborating with the producers Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. It's a beautiful recording – alive, boundary-pushing, and energetic. Smith, at 82, is still in top form.

Smith joins us to talk about the new project, and his humble beginnings. Plus, Smith's records have been sampled a lot in hip-hop and electronic music. He'll talk about the records that caught him most by surprise.