Can I Kick It? Organ Master Lonnie Smith Can | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Can I Kick It? Organ Master Lonnie Smith Can

Play associated audio

You can probably count on one hand the number of people who've mastered the Hammond organ in jazz. Dr. Lonnie Smith can claim that distinction and more. As a bandleader in the 1960s and '70s, he wrote timeless music — and it secured that label during the '80s and '90s, when hip-hop producers sampled his work left and right. (That tasty organ riff that anchors A Tribe Called Quest's "Can I Kick It?" That's him.)

Smith also has a personality as big as that of any hip-hop star. He's called "Doctor" because ... well, he thinks he deserves the title. And though a stranger might reasonably mistake him for a Sikh, his turban and beard are all about style, nothing to do with religion.

With a catalogue that reaches back six decades, dozens of his songs have been lost to time. Now 71, Smith recently decided to comb through his archives and revisit some old numbers with some young musicians. The result is the new album In the Beginning, which finds him leading an octet alongside Ian Hendrickson-Smith of Sharon Jones' Dap Kings.

Smith spoke with NPR's Arun Rath about rediscovering his out-of-print work, falling in love with the Hammond B3 and the complete surprise of learning his music was being sampled. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Wounded Bull-Runner: 'If You Run Long Enough, You Get Gored'

Bill Hillmann, a writer from Chicago, contributed to the book Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona. He was gored at this year's running of the bulls in that city, but says he plans to return.
NPR

What If The World Cup Were Awarded For Saving Trees And Drinking Soda?

We thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how the four teams in the final World Cup matches stack up in global health and development.
NPR

What Could $100 Million Buy You — Besides Campaign Ads In Kentucky?

Spending on the Kentucky Senate race might reach $100 million. So what else could that get you in the Bluegrass State? NPR's Tamara Keith finds out when she calls up some local business owners.
NPR

Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.