Real Name:
Lonnie Liston Smith
Not to be confused with jazz organist/pianist Lonnie Smith , Lonnie Liston Smith was born 28th December, 1940 in Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A. He was introduced to music at an early age by his father, and learned piano, tuba, trumpet and voice in high school and college. After graduating from Baltimore's Morgan State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in music education, he soon launched himself into performance, working with the house band at the Royal Theater, Baltimore. He moved to New York and nurtured his talent with jazz greats like Art Blakey and Miles Davis, moving from acoustic jazz to fusion, before forming his own group Lonnie Liston Smith And The Cosmic Echoes in 1973. He is renowned for defying genres, blending atmospheric fusion, soul and funk and is often quoted as a strong influence on acid jazz. He is still writing and touring.
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February 12, 2020
edited 6 days ago
Lonnie Liston Smith interview for Electronic Standards, reasoning about the singularity in Music and the ‘Cosmic’ mind:

“You have to experiment with your own sounds. Back then, you could notice by hearing the music who it was from. Nowadays, a lot of them sounds the same! You have to be creative, that’s the challenge! Every musician wants to have its own sound. Every artist has to find his own sound or own voice, no matter what he or she does.
I was always studying everything in search for the Truth, like on a meditation, in order to put a Universal Sound, so that everyone would notice. One that, once the music starts, all those language frontiers disappear in a Universal Soul atmosphere. Through art, all the people from the world can communicate in a different language, that’s why my sounds have this universal kind of titles - ‘Give Peace A Chance’, ‘Expand Your Mind’, etc. – it was meant to make people think about a better world, with no wars.
A Universal Sound and Soul came to mind when I was studying, researching, meditating and thinking about the wonders of life. The main separation is language, and music is the universal language that brings people together. It’s hard to explain, figure these sounds… I try to make them open and eternal as concepts, you use your Soul to interpret the way you want.
A lot of things you saw when you were growing up, are not there anymore… And then it compels you to go after the Eternal Truth, the Infinity… So the Space Sound makes you think about that.
I try to use Space in the Music, like when you want the notes to mean something, so that you can relax, and make people get into themselves… Space leads you to a calm mood. I used to talk to Miles Davis and he always said that “Musicians don’t realize that what they don’t play is as important as what you do play!” You got be able to hear the ‘Sound of Silence’.”


November 4, 2011
Reviewing any individual LLS album misses the point a bit, so I will make my remarks here. All of his albums are similar. Certainly there is some evolution: the early ones are funkier; the mid-period albums contain more elements of disco; and the later ones are further streamlined to reflect 80s production and sound. But they're all deep acidjazz/chillout/makeout music made well before those terms existed.

My favourites are the Columbia albums from 1978 to 1980. They're the grooviest and most melodic. Some of the pre-Columbia records are extremely mellow and pleasant, almost to the point of sleep-inducing -- though all of them are good. The later, more rare albums are less consistent in quality, but still mostly good.

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