Miller Theatre Opens Jazz Series with Hammond B3 Organ Master Dr. Lonnie Smith and His Trio

Miller Theatre Opens Jazz Series with Hammond B3 Organ Master Dr. Lonnie Smith and His Trio

Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts opens the 2017-18 Jazz series with the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, featuring Dr. Lonnie Smith, Hammond B3 organ, Jonathan Kreisberg, guitar, and Johnathan Blake, drums.

Saturday, October 7, 2017
8:00 p.m.
Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street)
Tickets: $20-$35 • Students with valid ID: $7-$21

From Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey: "What better way to open Miller Theatre's 2017-18 Jazz series than with Dr. Lonnie Smith, the legendary authority of the Hammond B3 organ. Fresh off the heels of being named an NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor in jazz, Dr. Smith has been on my wish-list of artists to feature, and I'm thrilled to present his trio in their Miller debut."

October 7, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway at 116th Street

Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio

Dr. Lonnie Smith, the elder statesman of the Hammond B3 organ with a career spanning over five decades, is nothing short of a living legend. He cut his teeth in the 1960s alongside the likes of George Benson and Lee Morgan, and has become known as one the most important innovators of his instrument. Recently named an NEA Jazz Master, this septuagenarian is just getting warmed up-his freewheeling trio is a relentless tour de force of energy and groove.
Dr. Lonnie Smith, Hammond B3 organ
Jonathan Kreisberg, guitar
Johnathan Blake, drums

Dr. Lonnie Smith, Hammond B3 organ Dr. Lonnie Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist. An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ for over five decades, he has been featured on over seventy albums, and has recorded and performed with some of the greatest jazz, blues, and R&B giants in the industry. Consequently, he has often been hailed as a "Legend," a "Living Musical Icon," and as the most creative jazz organist by a slew of music publications.

Smith's first gigs were at Buffalo's hottest jazz club, the Pine Grill, where he rapidly garnered the attention of folks like Jack McDuff, Lou Donaldson, George Benson, and the booking agent Jimmy Boyd. George Benson was looking for an organist for his quartet and enlistEd Smith. The group soon relocated to New York City, where they quickly established a reputation as innovators in Harlem clubs and throughout the area. After appearing on several Benson albums, Smith went on to make his first recording as a leader, Finger Lickin' Good, for Columbia Records in 1966. Shortly thereafter, Smith was scooped up to record by saxophonist Lou Donaldson, for whom Smith would appear on several epic Blue Note LPs including Alligator Boogaloo.

Since leaving the Blue Note stable in the '70s, Smith has recorded for a slew of record labels, including Kudu, Groove Merchant, T.K., Scufflin', Criss Cross, and Palmetto, ascending the charts many times. In 2012, Smith launched his own record label Pilgrimage Inc., and in 2015, re-signed with the iconic Blue Note Records label.

Many awards have followed since 1969, when Downbeat magazine namEd Smith "Top Organist" of the year. From 2003-2014 he was awarded "Organist/Keyboardist of the Year" by the Jazz Journalist Association. The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and Jazz Organ Fellowship have also inductEd Smith, and in 2015 he received the Village Music Legends Award. He received the NEA Jazz Masters Award, the highest honor in jazz, on April 3, 2017.

Jonathan Kreisberg, guitar Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg has been steadily building his name as one of the most compelling composer/performers in jazz. He frequently tours worldwide and records with his own groups as well as artists such as Dr. Lonnie Smith.

Kreisberg started playing guitar at the age of ten after moving to Miami with his family. At 16 he was admitted to the New World School of the Arts, where his jazz studies took center stage. He was featured in Guitar Player and DownBeat while still in his teens. He then won a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he held the guitar chair in the acclaimed Concert Jazz Band, touring Brazil and performing with Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, and Red Rodney.

Upon graduation, Kreisberg began playing jazz gigs as well as a myriad of other projects. He performed 20th century works with the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. He recorded an album and performed with the progressive rock group Third Wish. Kreisberg also formed the first incarnation of the Jonathan Kreisberg Trio. Based in Miami, this electric based Trio released an album and completed several East Coast tours, which included opening slots for George Benson and Steve Morse.

Kreisberg has worked in the bands of many jazz greats including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lee Konitz, Joe Locke, Stefano Dibatista, Ari Hoenig, Joel Frahm, Don Friedman, Greg Tardy, Donald Edwards, Jane Monheit, and Yosvany Terry. He has also led groups of various instrumentations featuring artists such as Bill Stewart, Larry Grenadier, and Scott Wendholt.

Kreisberg teaches each semester in Europe at the Jazz Department of Prince Claus Conservatoire, part of Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

Johnathan Blake, drums Johnathan Blake, one of the most accomplished drummers of his generation, has also proven himself a complete and endlessly versatile musician - "the ultimate modernist," as John Murph of NPR has dubbed him.

Through years-long memberships in the Tom Harrell Quintet, the Kenny Barron Trio, and other top ensembles, Blake has reaped the benefits of prolonged exposure to the greats of our time. Through his powerful, evocative drumming, he's left a huge imprint on the music of such rising figures in jazz as Hans Glawischnig, Alex Sipiagin, Donny McCaslin, Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital, Patrick Cornelius, Michael Janisch, Shauli Einav, and Jaleel Shaw. To date, Blake has appeared on over 50 albums.

Blake attended the jazz program at William Paterson University, where he studied with Rufus Reid, John Riley, StEve Wilson, and Horace Arnold. At this time Blake also began working professionally with the Oliver Lake Big Band, Roy Hargrove, and David Sanchez. In 2006 he was recognized with an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, and in 2007 he earned his Masters from Rutgers University, focusing on composition. He studied with the likes of Ralph Bowen, Conrad Herwig and Stanley Cowell.

Blake's playing helped the Mingus Big Band land Grammy nominations for the albums Tonight at Noon (2002) and I Am Three (2005). It has also earned Blake spots in groups led by Russell Malone, Randy Brecker, Joe Locke, Ronnie Cuber, and other seasoned jazz veterans.

Upcoming concerts in Miller Theatre's
Jazz series Single tickets: $20-$35
Series season tickets: $64-$112

Darcy James Argue's Secret Society
Saturday, February 3, 8:00 p.m.

Alfredo Rodríguez Trio
Saturday, March 3, 8:00 p.m.

Claudia Quintet
Saturday, March 24, 8:00 p.m.

Columbia University's Miller Theatre is located north of the Main Campus Gate
at 116th St. & Broadway on the ground floor of Dodge Hall.

Directions and information are available online at
or via the Miller Theatre Box Office, at 212.854.7799.

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram