Dr. Lonnie Smith Tribute
By Ken Fowser
We are so excited to pay tribute to the unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist, the legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith at The Django! An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ for over five decades, he has been featured on over seventy albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry.
Django Music Director, Ken Fowser, sat down with Jason Marshall, long time saxophonist for Dr. Lonnie Smith, to reminisce about one of the greatest organ players ever.
KF: “When was the first time you met Dr. Lonnie Smith?”
JM: “I met Doc for the first time when he came to my gig at the American Legion around 2009. Ian Hendrickson Smith later hired me to be in what would be his last working octet.”
KF: “How would you describe his style of playing organ, and what sets him apart from other organists?”
JM: “I describe Doc’s played as unmitigated freedom with a deep desire to elevate the listener on a spiritual level.”
KF: “What’s the biggest thing you learned from being around him?“
JM: “I learned the following from Doc:
Always be a vessel for Devine intelligence
Respect the groove
Never stop growing
Take care of your listeners.”
“KF: What’s your favorite album of Lonnie’s?“
JM: “My favorite album of Doc’s is live at club Mozambique”
KF: “What’s your favorite memory of Lonnie, on or off the band stand?”
JM: “My two favorite memories from working with Doc was getting to play quartet with him. We would always play ” ‘Man from Toledo’ or ‘Ready and Able’. The other memory is when he would introduce me as his son. He’d ask the audience ‘don’t you see the resemblance?’ The audience would all nod yes. I had so many good memories with Doc. So many. I’m blessed that way.”
A tribute to the music of Dr. Lonnie Smith will take place at the Django on Thursday, December 9th. Many of Lonnie’s former band mates will be performing! At 7PM, Jason Marshall, Ed Cherry, Akiko Tsuruga, and Johnathan Blake perform, followed by the Ian Hendrickson-Smith Quintet at 10PM. Reservations available here!