"That's how great it feels," says Dr. Lonnie Smith, after advising me to upgrade from my modest Hammond model M-102 organ to the essential jazz organ, the B-3. Alluding to the special skills demanded by the organ—volume control, adjusting the drawbars, precise touch, and pedaling the bass—the legendary organist adds, "If you have a B-3, your whole thing will change."
Smith's soothing voice and kindly advice belie his eruptive playing, which first attracted attention in the mid-1960s while gigging with guitarist George Benson. After an LP on Columbia, Smith signed with Blue Note and created a string of classic soul-jazz organ records such as Turning Point (1968) and my favorite of the bunch, the 1970 disc Live at Club Mozambique. After covers of James Brown's "I Can't Stand It" and Sly Stone's "Thank You," Smith fires off screaming clusters in a classic rendition of the Miles Davis–Victor Feldman tune "Seven Steps to Heaven."
Dr. Lonnie has a masterly ear for timbre; I adore the hollow, log-drum-like notes in "Paper Tiger" on his 2003 Beck tribute, Boogaloo to Beck (Scufflin') and the warm, percolating vibrato on "Trouble Man" from his latest disc, the fine Jungle Soul (Palmetto). Check the title track of Smith's mid-'70s disc Afrodesia (reissued on LaserLight): His synth solo seems to begin beyond the range of human hearing and descends deliciously, fluttering like a proverbial "whistler" nabbed from a shortwave radio.
Live, Dr. Lonnie mixes it up. "A lot of groups have a set list. I don't," he tells me. "I keep it open." At the Earshot Jazz Festival last November, Smith and guest trombonist Fred Wesley swung hard and surprised the audience by swaggering into "Spanish Key" from Bitches Brew. Don't miss him.
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 1
Two sound artists from Australia, Eamon Sprod, who performs as TARAB, and Camilla Hannan, headline this triple bill. I really like Hannan's track on the obscure 2003 compilation Liquid Architecture 4; her contribution, "Mended," deforms field recordings into slow arcs of sound while crackling vinyl hovers, lingering like slowly broken icicles. Esteemed microsound composer Dale Lloyd, proprietor of Seattle field recording label and/OAR, opens. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave, 322-1533, 8 pm, $5—$15 sliding-scale donation.
A evening of razor-edge noise rock (Factums, the Molecules), "zombient" soundscapes (the Noisettes), and out-jazz sax n' drums skronk (Walrus Machine). Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave, 441-5823, 10 pm, $5.
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 2
WAYNE HORVITZ GRAVITAS QUARTET
Horvitz has assembled the unlikeliest of quartets, a trumpet-piano-cello-bassoon chamber ensemble. On Way Out East (Songlines), Horvitz and his Gravitas cohorts play with such grace that it's hard to discern whether superb touches like the wistful nod to Mingus's "Peggy's Blue Skylight" in the tune "a remembrance..." were composed or improvised. Catch a free preview with a discussion and brief performance on Thurs Feb 1 from noon to 1 pm. Kerry Hall at Cornish College, 710 E Roy St, 325-6500, 8 pm, $7.50/$15.
CLIMAX GOLDEN TWINS
Seattle's fine experimental electronicians accompany a lecture/performance by Red76 artist Sam Gould. CGT gigs can entail just about anything (scratchy old 78 rpm records, trashed electric guitars, straw hats), so predictions are futile. Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave, 441-5823, 8 pm, $10.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 3
Meat-and-potatoes classical from this Seattle Pacific University orchestra: Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, an arrangement of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, and the Symphony No. 3, AKA the "Organ" symphony of Saint-Saëns. First Free Methodist Church, 3200 Third Ave W, 281-2048, 2 pm, $10/$15.
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 4
I savored this orchestra's performance of Stravinsky's two Suites for orchestra several months ago. This time, conductor Roupen Shakarian and company delve into Beethoven's ass-kicking Symphony No. 7. The remaining pieces on the program—Diversions by the underrated Irving Fine and Seattle composer David Lamb's "Song and Dance"—remind me that someone should create a mandatory music-school course, Compelling and Unique Titles 101. St. Stephen's Church, 4805 NE 45th St, 522-7144, 2:30 pm, $10/15.
Guitarist Michael Partington joins the band to premiere Portland composer Bryan Johanson's The Underdog—Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. The rest of the concert, dubbed "Winter Baroque," includes Handel's Organ Concerto in G minor, the "Beatus Vir" of Vivaldi, and Haydn's Symphony No. 45, nicknamed the "Farewell." First Free Methodist Church, 3200 Third Ave W, 800-838-3006, 3 pm, $10—$20.
Members of the late trumpeter's group and students from the Garfield Jazz Ensemble devote this month's Seattle Jazz Vespers to a local jazz stalwart. With Clarence Acox, Bill Anschell, Phil Sparks, and others. Standifer's fine solos and even-keeled trumpet tone as well as his endearingly distinct singing will be missed. Seattle First Baptist Church, 1111 Harvard Ave, 325-6051, 6 pm, free-will donation.