Dr. Lonnie Smith

Lonnie Smith has consistently been a leading force in jazz since 1969 when critics for Downbeat magazine hailed him as ‘Top Organist of 1969.’ More recently he has been selected as ‘Organ Keyboardist of the Year’ by The Jazz Journalist Association in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Lonnie was blessed with the gift of music and gained an exposure to gospel, blues and jazz through his mother at an early age.

In the late 1950s Lonnie at last discovered the instrument he calls the “425 pound beast”—the Hammond B-3 organ. Reflecting back on that time, Lonnie explains, “Even though I didn't know how, I was able to play right from the beginning. I learned how to work the stops and that was it.”

During the past decade Dr. Smith has been sampled in rap, dance and house grooves while being credited as a forefather of Acid Jazz. When questioned about his consistent interest in music some consider outside the jazz mainstream, Lonnie says, “Jazz is American Classical, and this music is a reflection of what’s happening at the time.”