Dr. Lonnie Smith

All In My Mind
(Blue Note)

All In My Mind chronicles the good doctor’s 75th birthday celebration last summer at Jazz Standard in New York. We have here a classic organ trio playing to bring a smile, a stomp and a “hell, yeah” to every gut-bucket organ fan out there. Smith conjures, coaxes and commands the Hammond B-3 like no one else alive. His arrangements and band bounce with power, sophistication and awe-inspiring groove. From the opening track—Wayne Shorter’s “JuJu”—Smith, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Johnathan Blake are locked in and blazing. On Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover,” drummer Joe Dyson sits in to deliver the tune’s distinctive Steve Gadd beat. Kreisberg handles the verses, setting up Smith to groove through the chorus before taking one for himself. What distinguishes Smith from other B-3 players are his distinctive composing chops. “Alhambra” is a powerful, toe-tapping masterpiece. Smith soars on the organ, but what’s most impressive is that Kreisberg and Blake are equal to this daunting task. The doctor invites the terrific vocalist Alicia Olatuja onstage to sing another stellar original, the album’s title track. It’s a ballad of pain, contemplation and beauty that Smith included on his 1977 album, Funk Reaction. The program concludes appropriately with Freddie Hubbard’s “Up Jumped Spring.” This fantastic album proves that there’s still plenty of spring in Smith’s musical step. (Smith, Kreisberg and Blake will perform at New York’s Jazz Standard on Jan. 11–14.)


On Sale Now
August 2019
Cécile McLorin Salvant
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