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Hey! Dr. Lonnie Smith! It’s your birthday!!

July 3, 2012

Hammond B-3 organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith returns to Jazz Standard to celebrate their tenth anniversary, his seventieth birthday, and the release of a terrific new CD entitled The Healer through the artist’s own Pilgrimage Productions.

He was born in Lackawanna, New York, into a family with a vocal group and radio program. Smith says that his mother was a major influence on him musically, as she introduced him to gospel, classical, and jazz music. He was part of several vocal ensembles in the 1950s, including the Teen Kings. Art Kubera, the owner of a local music store, gave Smith his first organ, a Hammond B3.

Smith’s affinity for R&B melded with his own personal style as he became active in the local music scene. He moved to New York City, where he met George Benson, the guitarist for Jack McDuff’s band. Benson and Smith connected on a personal level, and the two formed the George Benson Quartet, featuring Lonnie Smith, in 1966. After recording several albums with Benson, Smith became a solo recording artist and has since recorded over 30 albums under his own name. Numerous prominent jazz artists have joined Smith on his albums and in his live performances, including Lee Morgan, David “Fathead” Newman, King Curtis, Terry Bradds, Blue Mitchell, Joey DeFrancesco and Joe Lovano.

And today is his birthday so take it down to the Standard and take in some smokin’ grooves fresh from his Hammond B-3. Happy Birthday tooooo yooooouuuu!!!

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