Think! by Lonnie Smith

by | Oct 13, 2022 | Marion's Favorites, Music Reviews, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

Over the past several months, I have wanted to listen to 1960s Jazz Music.  It started when I purchased Wayne Shorter’s Night Dreamer and got Horace Silver’s Song For My Father a few days later. I recently bought Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder (I saw the documentary on Netflix about his tragic end) as well.  My latest excursion of 60s jazz music came when I got Lonnie Smith’s Think!. I traded some books at a local used bookstore here in San Antonio in order to get this CD. They had a small music section and the CD cover caught my attention.

Think! was the second album from Lonnie Smith. Recorded in July 1968 (a tumultuous year in America) and released later that year. Lonnie Smith was one of two keyboardists with the same name that emerged in the 1960s. The other Lonnie Smith known as Lonnie Liston Smith carved out his own exceptional career and caused some confusion with this Lonnie Smith. I will admit that I heard of Lonnie Liston Smith and thought this CD was by the same musician.

I was mistaken, and this Lonnie, known as Dr. Lonnie Smith, has created his own place in jazz music and deserved to be recognized just like his namesake. Think! featured the aforementioned Lee Morgan on trumpet, David Newman on tenor sax & flute, and Smith on organ. These five tunes melded R&B and Jazz seamlessly.  I would consider this CD as a highlight of soul jazz music.

My favorite song on Think! is The Call of the Wild. It is a 12 minute song that starts out like it is going to be a hard bop tune and changes about a third of the way through into a delightful soul jazz song that makes you want to dance. Twelve minute songs are out-of-place in today’s music, but hearing these musicians jam is a much needed antidote to these trite three to four-minute songs that are the staple these days. Smith records the Aretha Franklin’s hit Think and his organ adds a distinct element to the song. Aretha fans will recognize his version immediately and can consider it a solid rendition.  The other three songs: Three Blind Mice, Slouchin’, & Son of Ice Bag round out a CD that will become a staple in my music collection.

Hearing Lonnie’s organ takes me to church and Lee Morgan’s trumpet compliments the bandleader wonderfully.  Morgan (as shown on his own CD, Sidewinder) is a trumpet player that belongs in the lineage with Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, & Miles Davis. I will encourage jazz aficionados and newcomers to the genre checkout Think! by Lonnie Smith.  It is a CD that’s easy listening and will take you on a musical journey that stimulates the imagination and will make you want to move your body simultaneously.



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Marion Hill