28 December 1940, Richmond, Virginia, USA. Not to be confused with the soul/jazz organist Lonnie Smith. Born into a very musical family, Smith seemed destined from a very early age to make music his career. His father and two brothers were all vocalists, but it was the keyboard that attracted Smith. After studying at Morgan State University, he moved to New York and immersed himself in the citys thriving jazz scene. Accompanying Betty Carter for a year in 1963, Smith soon became a highly sought-after pianist, working with successive jazz stars, from Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1964-65), Art Blakey (1966-67), and Joe Williams (1967-68), through to Pharoah Sanders (1969-71), Gato Barbieri (1971-73), and finally Miles Davis (1972-73).
In 1973, Smith formed the Cosmic Echoes and released the all-instrumental Astral Traveling. The following years Cosmic Funk introduced his brother Donald as vocalist. Playing a very popular soft fusion,...
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