Q - May 2002, p.1353 out of 5 stars
- "...The music is more intelligent in its construction than plenty of other fusion....one of jazz's finest keyboardists."
Personnel includes: Lonnie Liston Smith (vocals, piano, electric piano, Clavinet, keyboards); James Robinson (vocals, guitar); Donald Smith (vocals, flute); Bert De Coteaux (arranger); David Hubbard (saxophone, flute); Albert James, Louis Barbarin, Koran Daniels (horns); Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ); Ronald D. Miller (acoustic & electric guitar); Doc Powell (guitar); Aurell Ray (12-string guitar); Marcus Miller, Al Anderson, Pee Wee Ford (bass); Lino Reyes, George Johnson (drums); Steve Thornton, Lawrence Killian (congas, percussion); Yvonne Lewis, Ulanda McCullough, Janet Wright (background vocals).
Recorded between 1978 & 1980.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Lonnie Liston Smith (vocals, guitar, piano, electric piano, Clavinet, keyboards); James Robinson (vocals, guitar); Ron Miller (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Doc Powell, Abdul Wali, Kevin J. Perry, Butch Campbell (guitar); Aurell Ray (12-string guitar); Kevin Jasper, Louis Barbarin, Koran Daniels (horns); Lino Reyes, George A. Johnson, Jr. (drums); Lawrence Killian (congas, bongos, percussion); Steve Thornton (congas, percussion); Asante (percussion); Ullanda McCullough, Janet Wright, Butch Jackson, Cassie Hawkins, Marcella Allen, Keith Rose, Yvonne Lewis (background vocals).
Arranger: Bert de Coteaux.
Keyboard wizard Lonnie Liston Smith has worn many stylistic hats throughout his career (though his trademark turban has seldom left his head), starting out as a prime exponent of straight-ahead jazz piano before moving into more commercial waters. Those enamored of jazz fusion, R&B, and funk will be well served by the two-disc anthology EXPLORATIONS, as it draws from the late-'70s/early-'80s period that found Smith incorporating all of those styles into a very distinctive amalgam. Sweet soul vocals, funky bass lines, and elegant sax solos abound, but the focus throughout the four albums drawn on for EXPLORATIONS remains on Smith's scintillating keyboard work. It will come as no surprise to admirers of his early work to note that he's an ace on the 88's, but Smith's dewy electric piano and crisp, percussive clavinet runs are equally impressive, embodying a certain '70s paradigm so completely that EXPLORATIONS feels like a time capsule intended to offer some grace and beauty to a less florid century.