Dr. Lonnie Smith

Afrodesia [Groove Merchant]

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Afrodesia expands upon the soul-jazz sensibility of organist Lonnie Smith's classic Blue Note efforts, abandoning their hairpin-tight, diamond-sharp grooves in favor of more meditative, free-flowing epics that draw on elements of Latin jazz, pop, and even disco. Featuring a supporting cast including then-unknown saxophonist Joe Lovano, electric bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Jamey Huddad, Afrodesia features some of Smith's strongest, most nuanced work; the imaginative arrangements create panoramic stretches of space for all of the players to explore, and they push the 15-minute "Spirits Free" into compelling new spheres of funk consciousness.