This previously unreleased live set, which has been issued on Blue Note's Rare Groove Series, will bore anyone who listens closely. The repertoire is dominated by lengthy funk grooves that are quite danceable but never develop beyond the obvious. Altoist Lou Donaldson was using a baritone horn at the time that gave him a generic and unappealing tone, the obscure trumpeter Fred Ballard does his best to no avail and the enthusiastic rhythm section (guitarist Melvin Sparks, organist Leon Spencer, Jr., and drummer Idris Muhammad) keeps the grooves repetitious. Bob Porter's liner notes (which colorfully give readers the history of Newark jazz of the past 30 years) are superlative but, even with the inclusion of a fast blues, musically nothing much happens.
Recorded on May 21, 1970, at Detroit's Club Mozambique, this was shelved and remained unreleased until it was retrieved for CD issue in 1995. It's odd that Blue Note decided to sit on it for so long, because it ranks as one of Lonnie's better sets. The band, featuring George Benson on guitar, is relaxed and funky without being in your face about it, and unlike much soul-jazz of the time, most of the material is original, Smith having penned six of the eight numbers. Although the riffs often owe a lot to James Brown, this is definitely at least as much jazz as soul, with Lonnie taking a rare vocal turn on "Peace of Mind."
Set Us Free, Reuben Wilson's final album for Blue Note, was issued in 1971. Since that time it has become an immortal and much sought classic by beatheads for a single track: "We're in Love." DJ Premier sampled it liberally – for its Hammond B-3 vamps, backing vocals, and decorative percussion – for use on rapper Nas' smash "Memory Lane." Hip-hop fans suddenly had to hear more, and as a result not only is Wilson active again on the circuit, but there has also been terrific interest in his catalog.
Move Your Hand was recorded live at Club Harlem in Atlantic City on August 9, 1969. Organist Lonnie Smith led a small combo – featuring guitarist Larry McGee, tenor saxist Rudy Jones, bari saxist Ronnie Cuber, and drummer Sylvester Goshay – through a set that alternated originals with two pop covers, the Coasters' "Charlie Brown" and Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Throughout, the band works a relaxed, bluesy, and, above all, funky rhythm; they abandon improvisation and melody for a steady groove, so much that the hooks of the two pop hits aren't recognizable until a few minutes into the track.
Dr. Lonnie Smith brings an album with SHM-CD format. On Evolution, Dr. Lonnie Smith returns to the Blue Note Records label with a unique project that enhances his legacy as one of the premier masters of modern music. With three new Smith originals (“For Heaven’s Sake”, “African Suite” and “Talk About This”) and exciting new arrangements of tunes such as Monk’s “Straight No Chaser”, “Play It Back” and “Afrodesia,” The Good Doctor and his cast offer plenty of surprises and invention along with a serious groove.
On Evolution, Dr. Lonnie Smith returns to the Blue Note Records label with a unique project that enhances his legacy as one of the premier masters of modern music. With three new Smith originals (“For Heaven’s Sake”, “African Suite” and “Talk About This”) and exciting new arrangements of tunes such as Monk’s “Straight No Chaser”, “Play It Back” and “Afrodesia,” The Good Doctor and his cast offer plenty of surprises and invention along with a serious groove.
Think!, organist Lonnie Smith's 1968 sophomore effort for Blue Note, is easily one of the strongest dates the Hammond B-3 master would produce for the label. Featuring a stellar group of musicians including trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist David Newman, guitarist Melvin Sparks, and drummer Marion Booker, Jr., as well as a three-member Afro-Latin percussion unit led by Henry "Pucho" Brown, Think! is a perfect mix of funky soul and forward-thinking jazz. Kicking things off with Hugh Masekela's instantly memorable "Son of Ice Bag," both Sparks and Newman take searching funk-flow solos while Morgan seems to be remembering a certain Masekela lick he dug.
Reissue. Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. A stone killer from organist Lonnie Smith – one of his completely cooking early albums for Blue Note, and a hard-burner all the way through! Smith's working here with a really great group that includes Idris Muhammad on drums and Melvin Sparks on guitar – both of whom give the album a really heavy bottom, and almost make the set feel like one of those classic Prestige jammers from the same time.
After a long hiatus from the record shelves, the turbaned Dr. Lonnie Smith – along with guitarist John Abercrombie and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith – sets his sights upon John Coltrane, turning in five 'Trane tunes plus Mongo Santamaria's "Afro-Blue" and a grooving Smith tribute, "Traces of Trane." The propulsive title track is mostly dominated by Abercrombie, while "Impressions" continues the driving pace as Lonnie sprays Hammond B-3 organ notes all over the place with constant brief call-and-response dialogues with himself.