July 10, 2024

The premier, multiple award-winning jazz organist and ever funky Dr. Lonnie Smith will have you groovin’ high on his latest release by Palmetto titled SPIRAL. Joined by Jonathan Kreisberg on guitar and Jamire Williams on drums, this great CD features several songs from the Great American Songbook – Dr. Lonnie Smith style! The recording is truly soulful, filled with energy and emotion. When you hear the trio’s rendition of Jimmy Smith’s “Mellow Mood,” that is definitely where you’ll find yourself..in a mellow mood.

I don’t think the Doc is related by blood to the great organist Jimmy Smith, but he sure is related by jazz! He is burning up that Hammond organ throughout this program but Slide Hampton’s slow, grooving ballad “Frame For the Blues,” and the pumped up version of “Beehive” by Harold Mabern are sure to please and their fans will certainly give thanks for the brilliant resuscitations they get here. “Spiral” features an intro by Kreisberg and Williams before Smith joins in with his desirable tone colors. This is Smith’s original and gives even greater credence to his abilities as a songwriter since it features excellent sections for his trio to solo and bring their insightful musical visions to this great song.

Three more covers “Sweet & Lovely,” “I’ve Never Been In Love Before,” and I’ Didn’t Know What Time It Was” complete the selections from the GAS. However, one of the most memorable songs on the recording is Smith’s emotional performance of “Sukiyaki.”

Overall, SPIRAL is a masterful recording by one of the Hammond B3 organ’s most authentic masters.

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