Lonnie Smith

Lonnie Smith was born in Buffalo, NY in 1953. Musically inspired at a young age, he started with a trumpet, but created his first vocal group in high school called The Supremes. His first exposure to the Hammond organ was in church and through the hits of Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith. After getting his hands on Midnight Special, he tried every time he could to learn everything about that organ.

Lonnie would practice every day at Art Kubero's music store. Finally, while in NYC, Lonnie sat in with the Jack McDuff Quartet with George Benson. When Benson left to form his own group, he asked Lonnie to be his organist. Jimmy Boyd, who signed Benson, saw Lonnie playing at Small's, and came up to him and told him to show up the following day for a recording session with Grant Green.

Lonnie never went, as he felt he wasn't ready to be playing with someone of the caliber of Grant. After playing with Benson for a while, and recording a few albums for Columbia with him, Lou Donaldson asked both of them in on the Alligator Bogaloo session. From then on, Lonnie was thrilled to be associated with Blue Note for 4-5 years.

After his only release as a leader for Columbia, Lonnie recorded four albums as a leader for Blue Note, as well as appearing as a sideman on many other releases. This association ended when Frank Wolff died, after which Lonnie recorded many albums for Sonny Lester.

His 1971 Mama Wailer is a Jazz-Funk classic. His Afrodesia (LRC, 1977) with Benson, Randy Brecker & Steve Gadd among others has some interesting compositions and arrangements. Watch out: many stores and discographies mistake him for Lonnie "Liston" Smith and only have one bin for both.

"Dr." Lonnie Smith recently recorded three albums with John Abercrombie and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. Two are tributes to Jimi Hendrix: Purple Haze and Foxy Lady (which, according to Abercrombie, were supposed to be one album); one a tribute to John Coltrane: Afro Blue.

In 1995, Blue Note released, as part of their Rare Groove Series, a previoulsy unreleased live recording with Dave Hubbard, George Benson, Ronnie Cuber and Joe Dukes. Live At Club Mozambique has quickly become a favorite among Jazz organ fans.

Besides continuing to record and tour with Lou Donaldson, and recording as a sideman to help out local artists, he was just featured on two all-star recordings from Hip Bop's Essence series: Organic Grooves with Joey DeFrancesco, Kenny Garrett and Lenny White, and the new BongoBop with Reuben Wilson, Doug Carn and Joey DeFrancesco.


CSV File (with sidemen & tracks)

CD Now

Leader Title Date Label LP Issue CD Issue
Adams Johnny One Foot in the Blues 1996 Rounder 2144
Baker Brad B. Baker Chocolate 1979 LRC 9325
Beck Joe Back To Beck 1988 DMP 464
Benson George It's Uptown 1966 Columbia CS 9325 CK 52976
Benson George George Benson Cookbook 1966 Columbia CS 9413 CK 52977
Benson George Benson Burner 1967 CBS CG 33589
Benson George Willow Weep For Me (Do You Like Jazz? series #19) 1973 Dutch CBS 63533
Benson George Spiritual To Swing (Live) 19?? Columbia ?
Chartbusters Chartbusters! 1995 NYC Records 6017 2
Chartbusters Mating Call! 1995 Prestige 11002-2
Compilations The Organ Giants 1965 Prestige 7778
Compilations The Best of Jazz Organ ? LRC CDC 9006
Cuber Ronnie Live At The Blue Note 1985 Pro Jazz 629
Donaldson Lou Alligator Bogaloo 4/17/67 Blue Note BST 84263 7 84263 2
Donaldson Lou Mr. Shing A' Ling 10/27/67 Blue Note BST 84271 7 84271 2
Donaldson Lou Midnight Creeper 3/15/68 Blue Note BST 84280
Donaldson Lou Everything I Play Is Funky 1/9/70 Blue Note BST 84337 8 31248 2
Donaldson Lou Pretty Things 1/9/70 Blue Note BST 84359 7 89794 2
Donaldson Lou Play The Right Thing 12/20/90 Milestone 9190-2
Donaldson Lou Caracas 1993 Milestone 9217-2
Donaldson Lou Sentimental Journey 1995 Columbia CK 66790
Essence All Stars Organic Grooves 1/15/96 Hip Bop / Silva Screen HIBD 8010
Essence All Stars BongoBop 11/15/96 Hip Bop / Silva Screen HIBD 8017
Gale Eric In A Jazz Tradition 1987 Emarcy 836 369-1
Hart Richie Remembering Wes 1988-89 Blue Flame 40222
Holloway Red Red Soul 1965 Prestige 7473
Holloway Ron Struttin' 1995 Milestone 9238
Jazz Funk Masters w/ Dr. Lonnie Smith Live Jam! 5/12/92 P-Vine 2401
Jones Jesse Jr. Soul Serenade 1996 Contemporary 14082-2
Martin John Spider Live At The Breakers ? ? ?
Mauro Turk Hittin' The Jug 1995 Milestone 9246
McGriff Jimmy State of the Art 1985 Milestone 9135
Mustafa Melton - Orchestra Boiling Point 1996 Contemporary 14075-2
Myers Terry Soul Mates 1996 Contemporary 14078-2
Nakumura Teruo Rising Sun 1976 Kitty MFK 1004
Page Nathan The Other Page 1991 Hugo HMS 111
Ponder Jimmy 'Fats' So Many Stars 1984 Milestone 9132
Ponder Jimmy 'Fats' To Reach A Dream 1988 Muse 5394
Ponder Jimmy Come On Down 9/27/90 Muse 5375
Secret Agent Men w/ Dr. Lonnie Smith Secret Agent Men 1992 Paddle Wheel KICJ 135
Smith Lonnie Finger Lickin' Good 1967 Columbia CS 9496
Smith Lonnie Think! 7/23/68 Blue Note BST 84290 7 84290 2
Smith Lonnie Turning Point 1969 Blue Note BST 84313
Smith Lonnie Move Your Hand 8/9/69 Blue Note BST 84326 8 31249 2 3
Smith Lonnie Drives 1/2/70 Blue Note BST 84351 8 28266 2 0
Smith Lonnie Live At Club Mozambique 5/21/70 Blue Note 8 31880 2 4
Smith Lonnie Mama Wailer 1971 Kudu 02
Smith Lonnie Flavors 6/15/77 Musidisc ?
Smith Lonnie Afrodesia 6/15/77 Groove Merchant GM 3308
Smith Lonnie Afrodesia (& When the Night is Right) 1977 LRC CDC 9079
Smith Lonnie Keep on Loving 1977 Groove Merchant GM 3312
Smith Lonnie Funk Reaction 1977 LRC LRC 9317
Smith Lonnie Gotcha 1978 LRC LRC 9323
Smith Lonnie When the Night is Right 1979 Chirouscuio CR 2019
Smith Lonnie Lonnie Smith (Gotcha / Funk Reaction) 1991 LRC CDC 9032
Smith Lonnie Afro Blue 6/17/93 Venus TKCV-79022
Smith Lonnie Purple Haze - Hendrix Tribute 3/20/94 Venus TKCV-79055
Smith Lonnie Foxy Lady - Hendrix Tribute 3/19/94 Venus TKCV-79053
Smith Lonnie Lonnie Smith-George Benson 19?? Europa Jazz EJ 1025
Smith Lonnie with Alvin Queen Lenox & Seventh Avenue 1985 Black & Blue BB 33178
Various Shades Of Red 12/3/94 Somethin' Else TOCJ-5578

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