This week, we showcase the veteran jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, who will be in St. Louis from Wednesday, March 18 through Saturday, March 21 to perform at Jazz at the Bistro.
Originally from the Buffalo, NY, area, the 66-year-old Smith first came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of guitarist George Benson's band. He then established his reputation as a leader with a series of blues- and funk-tinged albums for Blue Note records, and has continued to tour and record ever since, along the way working with prominent jazz players such as Grover Washington, Jr., Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, and his frequent collaborator Lou Donaldson.
Like many jazz organists, Smith often works in a trio setting, and for his St. Louis shows he'll be accompanied by guitarist Russell Malone and drummer Herlin Riley. In the first video clip up above, taken from a 2007 gig at NYC's Jazz Standard, you can see Smith in another trio, with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Anthony Pinciotti, playing the title song from his then-new CD Jungle Soul.
Down below, you can get a taste of Smith's ballad style, as he does the standard "Willow Weep For Me" in a clip recorded for Dutch TV in November, 2007 at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam. The third and final video is a short interview with Smith recorded at the same time.