Lonnie Liston Smith: JID017 review – return of the cosmic groove

The keyboard revolutionary’s first album in 25 years is infused with 70s idealism and sits well with his stellar back catalogue

A quarter of a century between albums is a stretch, but at the age of 82, Lonnie Liston Smith had long ago abandoned the idea of adding to his stellar back catalogue. A keyboard revolutionary in the 1970s, he had played with Pharoah Sanders and Miles Davis before carving a career as a jazz-funk maestro and champion of cosmic jazz.

Smith has now become the latest veteran to be tempted back to the studio by producers Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of Jazz Is Dead (a name intended to prove the opposite). As graduates of the hip-hop generation, the pair are well aware of the way Smith’s grooves and riffs have been lucratively sampled by the likes of Jay Z. Their working methods remain simple, feeding ideas and motifs to their chosen star alongside a rhythm section and adding more later.

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