Thursday, June 20, 2013

Interview with Dr. Lonnie Smith

Dr. Lonnie Smith and his trio will perform July 7 at the 2013 Iowa City Jazz Festival. KCCK's Gordon Paulsen recently interviewed Smith about the show and his career.

You can hear Hunter’s music regularly on KCCK at Or, for a consistent dose of music from artists appearing at the Jazz Festival, check out the Iowa City Jazz Fest channel at It's a 24-7 music feed of jazz fest artists.

Interviews with Smith and the other headliners air regularly on the Jazz Fest Channel. Transcripts will also be posted here.

I’m Gordon Paulson and on the phone with me is one of America’s great Jazz organ players, one of the great organ players in the world, no doubt about it, Dr. Lonnie Smith. He will be returning to the Iowa City Jazz Festival this summer, and kind of a make-up concert, a make-good concert from his performance from the 2010 Iowa City Jazz Festival unfortunately was cancelled because of weather. There was an incredible rainstorm we had that evening. This time we are going to bring Dr. Lonnie Smith back to Iowa City and we’re one-hundred percent sure he will be able to perform with his fine band this time around. Dr. Lonnie Smith, thank you once again for speaking with me and welcome back to KCCK.

LONNIE: How you doing, Gordon? Nice talking to you.

We’re sure hoping the circumstances are a bit better this time. But I would just like to speak with you to what you’ve been up to here recently because you just got back from Europe. How was that?

LONNIE: It was fantastic. It was fantastic. They loved us so I enjoyed it. Once I got there I didn’t want to leave.

They really do appreciate and love their Jazz over in Europe. We’ve been enjoying all of those fine releases as of late on the Palmetto label. You’ve got a fairly new one out on Pilgrimage. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

LONNIE: Pilgrimage is a new label that I created and it’s doing quite well. I’m pretty proud of it during this time because I am able to still play the music and record the thing that I would like to do. So it’s going great.

And that’s called “The Healers” is that right?

LONNIE: Yeah, that’s correct.
Your bandmates from that recording, are they joining you in Iowa City for your performance?

LONNIE: Correct I have Jonathan Kreisberg and on that particular night I might have a different drummer. Every now and then I use a different drummer but they all play with me off and on throughout all this. It’s going to be great.

The trio setting still the one you prefer to perform and record with for the most part?

LONNIE: Sure. I love trio. I also love, and have done things with an orchestra and octet. I love different styles of music. When I play I feel this way, and sometimes when I feel this way I take the octet out. I’m working on a new CD, it’s called “In The Beginning” and it’s an octet on that particular CD. That’s not out yet. I’m basically playing some of the old music back from the blue note days, a lot of the original tunes that I’ve written that can’t be found. Young people haven’t gotten those, so that’s why I’m doing that. It’s called “In The Beginning” so you’ll be hearing some nice music done back in the blue note days. It will be out sometime, July or August.

We are looking forward to it. Thank you for your time and we will see you again in Iowa City.

LONNIE: Thank you Gordon it has been a pleasure.

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