Finger-Lickin' Good

Dr. Lonnie Smith

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Finger-Lickin' Good Review

by Jason Ankeny

Although it predates his classic soul-jazz dates for Blue Note by a few years, Lonnie Smith's debut LP, Finger-Lickin' Good, boasts a deeply funky groove quite unusual for the mid-'60s, a period when few jazz musicians acknowledged the influence of more commercial musical pursuits, let alone introduced such elements into their own work. Aided and abetted by an all-star lineup including guitarist George Benson, saxophonist King Curtis, and trumpeter Blue Mitchell, Smith keeps the performances brisk and bold, galvanized by stiletto-sharp bursts of organ. Cuts like "Hola Muneca" and "Can't You Just Feel It" possess a raw vitality quite uncommon for the moment in question, and while it's disingenuous to call Finger-Lickin' Good groundbreaking, it's definitely a record ahead of its time.