Blue Note Records has confirmed that Dr. Lonnie Smith, maestro of the Hammond B3 organ, has passed away at age 79.
The label, who released some of Smith’s most beloved albums like Think! and Turning Point, confirmed the news with a statement. “We’re deeply saddened to announce that Hammond B3 organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith passed away today at 79 years old,” it reads.
Others took to social media to pay tribute to the influential musician.
— NPR Music (@nprmusic) September 29, 2021
Just got the very sad news about my friend and one of the Legends of The Organ, Dr. Lonnie Smith has made his final transition. He’ll be missed dearly, but never forgotten. He brought much joy to the world with his music. Love you Doc!! RIP❤️ pic.twitter.com/6vn4hbO3rt
— Joey DeFrancesco (@JoeyJazzOrgan) September 29, 2021
"I let my body play what’s in my heart. I play life instead of notes."
-Dr. Lonnie Smith
— Moog Synthesizers (@moogmusicinc) September 29, 2021
“Doc was one of the funkiest and most inventive organists to ever walk the earth and we were proud to bring this remarkable man’s joyous music to fans all over the world,” Blue Note Records continued in the statement.
“Goodbye to grandmaster Dr. Lonnie Smith who was nothing but pure soul and the best musician I ever played with,” said Dr. Smith’s friend and recent collaborator, Iggy Pop, in his own tribute. “Thinking of you and yours.”
Dr. Smith and Iggy Pop had released a cover of “Sunshine Superman” and a collaborative track called “Move Your Hand” this year.
In 2017, Dr. Lonnie Smith was awarded the title of NEA Jazz Master. He passed away from a heart condition called pulmonary fibrosis.