It's a true sign of badassness in our culture to be called doctor without proper credentials. Dr. Lonnie Smith fits the bill. A master of funky hard bop, the turban-wearing organist looks like Sun Ra and plays like Hammond B-3 pioneer Jimmy Smith, albeit more melodically adventurous. Most remarkable is his ability to manipulate the instrument's drawbars as a form of expression, shifting timbres from sharp stabs to queasy warbles in accordance with his phrases. Lonnie's collaborators have ranged from George Benson to Dionne Warwick, but his soulful style shines brightest in the trio setting alongside nimble, innovative drummer Jamire Williams and Wes Montgomery-meets-Pat Metheny guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg.
More Legit Than: Dr. Hook, Dr. John, Dr. Demento, Dr Pepper, Dr. Feelgood, Dr. Acula, Dr. Mario.