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Lonnie Liston Smith

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When Lonnie Liston Smith made the transition from sideman to leader in 1973, it was the beginning of a fusion/crossover/post-bop band he dubbed Lonnie Liston Smith & the Cosmic Echoes. The acoustic pianist/electric keyboardist, who was born in Richmond, VA, on December 28, 1940, should not be confused with soul-jazz/hard bop organist Lonnie Smith. This Smith would have had an impressive resumé even if he had never formed a band of his own. In the ’60s or early ’70s, he had been a sidemen for, among others, Pharoah Sanders, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Gato Barbieri, singer Betty Carter, and trumpeter Miles Davis. In fact, Smith was still in Davis’ employ when he signed with producer Bob Thiele’s RCA-distributed Flying Dutchman label and recorded his first album as a leader, Astral Traveling (which Thiele produced). Nonetheless, the Cosmic Echoes were a major step forward for Smith — the improviser had a lot more time to devote to his own compositions and he was free to concentrate on a very spiritual type of fusion that had a variety of influences. The post-bop of model explorers like Coltrane, Sanders, Kirk, Yusef Lateef, McCoy Tyner, and Charles Lloyd was a heavy influence on Smith’s composing since all of those artists shared the Cosmic Echoes’ spiritual concerns. But the Cosmic Echoes were hardly jazz purists. Their instrumental fusion combined those post-bop influences with funk, pop, and rock, and some of their best-known vocal numbers (which include 1979’s “Space Princess” and 1983’s “Never Too Late”) were outright R&B. It was on April 24, 1973, that Smith recorded Astral Traveling and led his first Cosmic Echoes lineup, which included George Barron (soprano and tenor sax), Joe Beck (guitar), Cecil McBee (bass), David Lee, Jr.

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  • BoBs933

    Genius!

    2 Jun 3:26pm Reply
  • dardar227

    Such a great artist! His music takes you to a very pleasant and peaceful place. My personal favs: Aquarian Cycle, A Lonely Way To Be and Quiet Moments but he has so many more!!

    11 Mar 11:53am Reply
  • VivianReis

    the master of subtlety

    9 Jun 2013 Reply
  • huipinayu

    Hold on my heart!!!<3

    7 Apr 2013 Reply
  • pauliscooler

    a great name for any artist to have

    15 Jan 2013 Reply
  • KenclecticTyree

    Thank you Lonnie. Just thank you.

    6 Jan 2013 Reply
  • WUSHULOCO

    a great introduction in the 70s to consciousness music

    29 Aug 2012 Reply
  • airlock24

    great, true source of inspiration for today's AG-music too

    8 Mar 2012 Reply
  • floydalbert

    From back in the day:-)

    8 Feb 2012 Reply
  • Blue_Key

    genius. your mind expands as if with the universe listening to Lonnie.

    11 Jan 2012 Reply
  • kaly_

    Happy Birthday !!!

    28 Dec 2011 Reply
  • RonZol

    Excellent! Thank you for your music...

    24 Oct 2011 Reply
  • HipHop1984

    Genius!!!

    22 Oct 2011 Reply
  • kusechka

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    11 Oct 2011 Reply
  • muniralive

    fuckin' goood

    16 Mar 2011 Reply
  • echo-wrapping

    <3

    12 Jan 2011 Reply
  • recstudio

    He's a leader. I love him. Give us a chance for peace lonnie .

    19 Sep 2010 Reply
  • Baron_Krelve

    Live at Ronnie Scott's 15th/16th Oct!

    8 Sep 2010 Reply
  • Gabriel_Opeth

    Expansions, the best track for me in the woorld !!

    18 Jul 2010 Reply
  • one_of_many

    geius.

    18 Jun 2010 Reply
  • All 55 shouts

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