A great lost chapter in the career of organist Lonnie Smith — a session recorded in the 80s, but done with the simple straightforward soul jazz groove of earlier sides on Muse and Prestige ! Lonnie's working here in a loose and free trio format — with Melvin Sparks on guitar and the great Alvin Queen on drums — rolling out over longish tracks in an open-ended style that almost recalls more of the feel of Don Patterson's great organ trio sides than it does the heavier funk of Smith's early years. The recording quality is great — very faithful to the best tones of the Hammond.
On IN THE BEGINNING, the second release on Pilgrimage Recording, his imprint label which he founded in 2012, Dr. Lonnie Smith revisits, recontextualizes, and reimagines a dozen songs culled from his first decade as a recording artist. The end product is a document as distinctive and accomplished as any within Smith’s iconic canon.
From the very first cut here, "The Lover of Beirut", Brahem's fascinating blend of traditional Eastern-flavored tonalities and his very jazz-like sense of free rhythms mix, in an astonishingly instinctual and intimate way, with Gesing's moody clarinet, their melodic lines at times doubling before breaking free to bend and swerve off into a melodic maze before slowly returning to their intricate Byzantine dance.