Dr. Lonnie Smith Leads Octet Into 2017 At Jazz Standard
Dr. Lonnie Smith Leads Octet Into 2017 At Jazz Standard – 12/28/16 through 1/1/17…video shot on Thursday, 12/29
Ah, Dr. Lonnie! I could see him perform every night. He’s that engaging, that thrilling when he sits down at his beloved Hammond B-3 organ. Noticing heavy guys like Jason Marshall on baritone sax stand agape while watching Smith work his magic on keyboards was ample evidence that even his band is constantly amazed by him. The Buffalo bred master, who spent decades living in Harlem before retreating to the more temperate clime of Florida, calls Jazz Standard – the fantastic room on East 27th Street – home when he’s in town as he was to put a cap on 2016.
It was a memorable year for the turbaned troubadour marked by two significant events. First, Smith released Evolution; his first on Blue Note Records in 46 years. The album included a couple of the wonderful guys who were on stage at Jazz Standard last week; drummer Johnathan Blake (fresh off gigs down the road at the Vanguard with Kenny Barron) as well as John Ellis on tenor sax. Evolution also included guest appearances from Robert Glasper and Joe Lovano. The return to the prestigious label, where he recorded classic late 60s sides as his career as a bandleader was in its infancy, felt perfect as Smith had recently revived some of his early work on In The Beginning (that represents definitive octet recordings and is part of the Hollandude 100) and it set up the second event in June. Dr. Lonnie Smith, along with Dave Holland, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dick Hyman, and Ira Gitler was named a National Endowment for the Arts’ 2017 Jazz Masters Fellow, the ultimate honor for a jazz artist. The induction ceremony is set for April at the Kennedy Center in DC.
Dr. Lonnie Smith will be back our way next month with a trio show at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts on February 25th. He also revealed he’d back at Jazz Standard in the summer including a 75th birthday show on July 3rd.