Tag: Lonnie Smith

In Memoriam: Dr. Lonnie Smith (1943 – 2021)

Lonnie Smith (July 3, 1942 – September 28, 2021), styled Dr. Lonnie Smith, was an American jazz Hammond B3 organist who was a member of the George Benson quartet in the 1960s. He recorded albums with saxophonist Lou Donaldson for Blue Note before being signed as a solo act. He owned the label Pilgrimage.

Smith toured the northeastern United States heavily during the 1970s. He concentrated largely on smaller neighborhood venues during this period. His sidemen included Donald Hahn on trumpet, Ronnie Cuber, Dave Hubbard, Bill Easley and George Adams on saxes, George Benson, Perry Hughes, Marc Silver, Billy Rogers, and Larry McGee on guitars, and Joe Dukes, Sylvester Goshay, Phillip Terrell, Marion Booker, Jimmy Lovelace, Charles Crosby, Art Gore, Norman Connors and Bobby Durham on drums.

Smith performed at several prominent jazz festivals with artists including Grover Washington Jr., Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Lou Donaldson, Ron Holloway, and Santana. He also played with musicians outside of jazz, such as Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Etta James, and Esther Phillips.

Smith died on September 29, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 79.