Album:Good Juice: Hot Hammond and Cool Organ Cocktails
Organist Lonnie Smith emerged in the late 60s and recorded some successful albums on Blue Note. Because he was constantly confused with pianist Lonnie Liston Smith, Smith started wearing a turban and calling himself Dr. Lonnie Smith. He did this just so fans would know who he is. Smith is still recording and touring today. He was born July, 3, 1942 in the Buffalo suburb of Lackawanna, NY. He grew up singing in church and singing in his family gospel group on their radio show. Smith got interested in jazz and his mom encouraged him to find an instrument he liked. So he tried the trumpet and the sax. He grew up playing with sax player Grover Washington Jr. After hearing Jimmy Smith, Smith decided to play the Hammond B-3 organ. Of course he couldn't afford to buy one so he started hanging around a local music store. When the music store owner Art Kubera saw him hanging around and heard him play, he gave Smith the organ. Smith started playing local clubs. When organist Jack McDuff came to Buffalo, his guitarist George Benson saw Smith play and approached him about starting a band. Smith recorded two albums with Benson on Columbia and then recorded his solo debut Finger Lickin' Good on Columbia in 1967. Then Smith appeared on sax legend Lou Donaldson's 1967 album Alligator Boogaloo. This led to a contract with Blue Note. He recorded four albums for Blue Note. This version of the Blood Sweat & Tears hit Spinnin' Wheel was on the 1970 album Drives. Musicians are Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax who was in the Benson band, Dave Hubbard on tenor sax who played with Lonnie liston Smith, Larry McGee on guitar who is an R & B guy and Joe Dukes on drums from Jack McDuff's band. Drives is not available on CD. But you can get Spinnin' Wheel on this Blue Note various organists comp. It's a good intro for beginners. Though Smith's Blue Note albums sold well, Drives was his final album for Blue Note. In the 70s he recorded for Kudu, Groove Merchant, LRC, America and Chiaroscuro. And he started wearing the turban. In the 80s, Smith didn't record as a leader. But he did appear on albums by Dave Hubbard, Monty Guy, Jimmy Ponder, Eric Gale and Ron Carter and Joe Beck. In the 90s, Smith recorded a couple of Jimi Hendrix tribute albums for the Japanese label Venus. A session with sax player Javon Jackson got Smith a deal with Palmetto Records. He recorded four CDs for Palmetto and his latest CD The Healer is on his own label. Smith is currently on tour in Europe. He is worth checking out if you aren't familiar with him. Hip hop guys know him. They sample his music. Here's a video for Spinnin' Wheel by Lonnie Smith.