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Lonnie Smith Trio

Born in Lackawanna, New York on July 3, 1942, Lonnie Smith, who goes by Dr. Lonnie Smith due to his improvisational style, was a jazz musician who played the Hammond B3 organ. Not to be confused with Lonnie Liston Smith, he grew up in Buffalo, New York in a musical family and had stints with small vocal groups in the 1950s. Moving to New York City, he released his debut solo album, Finger Lickin' Good - Soul Organ, in 1967. It featured guitarist George Benson with whom he played regularly in the George Benson Quartet. He performed around America and internationally with a wide variety of top jazz artists such as Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie and Grover Washington Jr. and accompanied vocalists including Etta James, Gladys Knight, and Dionne Warwick. Lonnie Smith also pursued a solo career with more than 30 recordings from 1969 to 2018. Notable albums include Think! (1968), Turning Point (1969), Move Your Hands (1969), Drives (1970), Afrodesia (1975) and Funk Reaction (1977). During his later years, Lonnie Smith appeared on Norah Jones's 2016 album Day Break and his music was sampled on recordings by many hip-hop performers including Beastie Boys, Eminem, Public Enemy and Snoop Dogg. His 2016 release, Evolution, went to Number 6 on Billboard's Traditional Jazz Albums chart and Number 8 on the Jazz Albums chart. On his 75th birthday, he recorded a live album - All in My Mind - at the Jazz Standard venue in New York City accompanied by regular collaborators guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Johnathan Blake. Released in 2018, it peaked at Number 7 on Billboard's Traditional Jazz Albums chart and Number 9 on the Jazz Albums chart. In 2021, he released the album Breathe, which proved to be his final album. Dr. Lonnie Smith died on September 28, 2021.


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