Dr. Lonnie Smith

A key figure in the rise of the organ in jazz, as well as one of the architects of the soul-jazz sound, “Dr.” Lonnie Smith (AKA The Turbanator) is something of a jazz anomaly with his staunchly self-taught approach. Smith doesn’t read music, so his playing tends to come from a highly individual headspace where personal expression and gut-level energy are favored over rote formula. These days, thanks to younger groups that have latched onto the organ, the style that Smith helped pioneer has become familiar. But Smith remains a voice to reckoned with. He is known for his assertive approach and colorful personality (the googly eyes, facial expressions, and turban certainly don’t hurt), but he also stresses the need to hold back where appropriate. It’s not for nothing that Smith refers to the Hammond B-3 as “the monster,” and his lyricism and dynamic control demonstrate why, decades after playing with the likes of George Benson, Jack McDuff, David “Fathead” Newmwan, and Lou Donaldson, he is still considered one of the prime ministers of his instrument. With Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Tue., Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m.; Wed., Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m., 2009

 
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