The evening of 11 March saw fourteen enthusiasts gathering at the Hotel Innere Enge, which sports what must be the most elegant jazz lounge in the country, for a concert by the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio.
The evening began at six o’clock with a pleasant and well-served meal in the hotel restaurant, after which we descended into the spacious downstairs lounge. I suspect that several of those amongst us had been expecting a fairly straightforward piano trio, but Lonnie Smith, who, with his white cap and long beard, although clearly of African-American origin, looked something like a cross between Confucius and an Indian guru, turned out to be a very accomplished keyboard player, essentially on a substantial Hammond organ with other keyboards at his fingertips, accompanied by an extremely talented guitarist and an excellent drummer.
The way musicians play modern jazz has developed and altered significantly since the days when it all started, and whereas in the past the role of the drummer and the other rhythm instruments was essentially to provide rhythm and back-up to the principal artist, they are now part of an integrated ensemble, and the mental telepathy which appears to pass between all three musicians is extraordinary. Having been a fan of all types of jazz since childhood, your correspondent had a fairly good idea of what was going on, although I fear that some of my companions were perhaps a little less enthusiastic. Most of the pieces they played were largely improvised originals, but from time to time well-known pieces such as Paul Simons’ “Fifty Ways to Lose your Lover” made an appearance.
The first session came to a close just before nine in the evening, at which point we made our farewells and started on our various homeward journeys, after a concert which I hope the others enjoyed as much as I did.
Thanks to Anne Droz for organising this entertaining event.