How did Dr Lonnie Smith die? Internet saddened by Hammond B3 organ maestro's death
"Doc was one of the funkiest & most inventive organists to ever walk the earth & we were proud to bring this remarkable man's joyous music to fans all over the world," Blue Note record label wrote.
Dr Lonnie Smith, an NEA jazz master, and the Hammond B3 organ maestro died aged 79 at his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on September 28. Blue Note Records announced the news on their official Twitter handle. "We're deeply saddened to announce that Hammond B3 organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith passed away today at 79 years old. Doc was one of the funkiest & most inventive organists to ever walk the earth & we were proud to bring this remarkable man's joyous music to fans all over the world," the tweet read.
A day before his death, R&B legend Andrea Martin took her last breath aged 49. 2021 has seen the passing of several legends from the musical universe including merengue music legend Johnny Ventura who died in the Dominican Republic. Mike Howe, the lead vocalist of Metal Church died by suicide after being "victimized by a failing healthcare system." Earlier this year trans pop artist and producer Sophie died after losing her footing and falling to her death from an apartment balcony while she was enjoying the new moon.
How did Lonnie Smith die?
Blue Note's President Don Was issued a statement as well following Smith's death. “Doc was a musical genius who possessed a deep, funky groove and a wry, playful spirit. His mastery of the drawbars was equaled only by the warmth in his heart. He was a beautiful guy and all of us at Blue Note Records loved him a lot.” A spokesperson for the label confirmed the cause of Smith's death was pulmonary fibrosis, a form of lung disease.
According to Pitchfork, Smith signed on to the label as a bandleader in 1968 and released five albums with them between the late '60s and early '70s. He left the label in 1971 and began recording for other producers. After a while, he started to fade from the scene along with jazz music. He returned to what he did best in the mid-'80s and worked with guitarists Richie Hart, Jimmy Ponder, vocalist Etta James, and drummer Alvin Queen.
The arrival of the '90s saw hip-hop reviving beat-driven jazz from the '60s and '70s through sampling. Smith was back in demand once again and he was invited on various shows as a featured guest artist and a leader. He got back to making albums, he made four and released it with Palmetto Records, all of them received critical acclaim and helped him connect with noted guitarists. Smith self-released two albums in 2013 and 2014 and two years later he was back at Blue Note.
In 2017 he was named as an NEA Jazz Master and continued collaborating with artists across genres. The last of his albums came in 2018 and another in 2021 which was titled 'Breathe' which had collaborations with Iggy Pop.