Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Dr. Lonnie Smith is set to release "Evolution," his first album for Blue Note Records since 1970. The album, which comes out January 29, marks the return of the legendary Hammond B-3 organ master to the iconic jazz label where he first made a name for himself in the late 1960s, first as a sideman with saxophonist Lou Donaldson on albums including Alligator Bogaloo, and soon after as a leader with his own soul-jazz classics such as Think! and Turning Point. Evolution is available for pre-order now on CD or digital download. Fans who pre-order the download will immediately receive the single “Straight No Chaser,” which is also available today as a single on streaming services.

Blue Note president Don Was signed Smith and produced Evolution, which is a robust and spirited collection of seven tunes, including fresh takes on Dr. Lonnie’s favorite originals and standards as well as brand-new excursions that he had never recorded before. Joining Smith are special guests Robert Glasper on piano and Joe Lovano on saxophones, as well as a top-notch band of musicians including reedist John Ellis, trumpeters Maurice Brown and Keyon Harrold, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg, and the double drummer team of Joe Dyson and Johnathan Blake (appearing together on five of the seven numbers).
After releasing his debut album Finger Lickin’ Good for Columbia, Smith joined Lou Donaldson’s band and made his first Blue Note appearance on the saxophonist’s hit 1967 album Alligator Boogaloo. Two more Donaldson dates followed (Mr. Shing-A-Ling and Midnight Creeper) before Smith was offered his own Blue Note deal, making his label debut with Think! in 1968. Smith went on to record another four Blue Note albums over the next two years (Turning Point, Move Your Hand, Drives and Live at Club Mozambique) all of which are regarded as soul-jazz classics.

Smith helped celebrate Blue Note’s 75th anniversary in 2014 by appearing with Donaldson at the historic concert Blue Note at 75 at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Some of Smith’s early tracks for Blue Note are collected on the playlist Intro to Dr. Lonnie Smith including standout cuts like “Spinning Wheel,” which was famously sampled by A Tribe Called Quest for their songs “Can I Kick It?” and “Buggin’ Out.”

The track listing for Evolution is as follows:

Play It Back featuring Robert Glasper
Afrodesia featuring Joe Lovano
For Heaven’s Sake featuring Joe Lovano
Straight No Chaser
Talk About This
My Favorite Things
African Suite

February 23-24: Ronnie Scott’s, London, UK
February 25-27: Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen, Denmark
February 28: LantarenVenster, Rotterdam, Netherlands
March 2: Nasjonal Jazzscene, Oslo, Norway
March 3: Spor 5, Stavanger, Norway
March 4: USF Verftet, Bergen, Norway
March 5: Dokkhuset Scene, Trondheim, Norway
March 6: Fasching Club, Stockholm, Sweden
March 8-12: Marian’s Jazz Room, Bern, Switzerland
March 24-27: Jazz Showcase, Chicago, IL
April 6: Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
April 9: Annenberg Center, Philadelphia PA
May 8: Segerstrom Center, Costa Mesa, CA
June 28-July 3: Jazz Standard, New York, NY

~ Blue Note

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