Dr.-Lonnie-Smith-TrioDr. Lonnie Smith, B3 Organ
Jonathan Kreisberg, Guitar  
Johnathan Blake, Drums

Dr. Lonnie Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist.  An authentic master of the Hammond B-3 organ for over five decades, Smith has been featured on over seventy albums and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the jazz world.  Jazz Times describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban.”  Smith was named “Top Organist” by Downbeat Magazine and was recently inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Organ Fellowships Hall of Fame.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Lonnie was blessed with the gift of music.  Through his mother, he was immersed in gospel, blues and jazz at an early age. In his teens, he sang in several vocal groups including his own–the Supremes–formed long before Motown’s eventual iconic act of the same name. Lonnie also played trumpet and other instruments at school and was a featured soloist. In the late ‘50s, with the encouragement of Art Kubera, who owned a local music store that he would visit daily, young Lonnie was given the opportunity to learn how to play a Hammond organ. By completely immersing himself in the records of organists such as Wild Bill Davis, Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith, as well as paying rapt attention to the church organ, a young Lonnie began to find his musical voice. “Even though I didn’t know how, I was able to play right from the beginning,” Dr. Smith reflects. “I learned how to work the stops and that was it. It’s a passion for me, so everything else came naturally.”

The Doctor’s first gigs were at Buffalo’s hottest jazz club, the Pine Grill, where he rapidly garnered the attention of folks like Jack McDuff, Lou Donaldson, George Benson and the booking agent Jimmy Boyd. George Benson was looking for an organist for his quartet and enlisted Lonnie. The group soon relocated to New York City, where they quickly established a reputation as innovators in Harlem clubs and throughout the area. After appearing on several Benson albums, Lonnie went on to make his first recording as a leader, Finger Lickin’ Good, for Columbia Records in 1966. Shortly thereafter, Smith recorded with saxophonist Lou Donaldson on several epic Blue Note LPs, including the million-seller, Alligator Boogaloo.

A deal with Blue Note produced the soul jazz classics Think!, Turning Point, Move Your Hand, Drives and Live at Club Mozambique (released many years later). Since leaving the Blue Note label Dr. Smith has recorded for many record labels, including Kudu, Groove Merchant, T.K., Scufflin’, Criss Cross and Palmetto.
His unpredictable, insatiable musical taste illustrates that no genre is safe, as Lonnie has recorded everything from covers of the Beatles, the Stylistics and the Eurythmics, to tribute albums of Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane and Beck all by employing ensembles ranging from a trio to a fifteen-piece big band.  Many of his recent compositions reflect dramatic ethereal qualities and orchestration that elicit movie scores or soundtracks.  In 2012 he launched his own record label, Pilgrimage Productions and released The Healer, his first live recording of his trio on his label.

Website: www.drlonniesmith.com

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