Organ master Lonnie Smith graces Myrna stage

“Living Musical Icon” makes only Montana appearance Feb. 22 in Helena

New & Notable

Legendary Hammond B-3 organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith and his trio perform one concert only in Montana, at the Myrna Loy, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22.

Dr. Lonnie Smith
NEA Jazz Master Lonnie Smith performs at the Myrna Feb. 22.Photo © Mark Sheldon

A 2017 NEA Jazz Master, Smith’s garnered numerous awards during his 50-year career. A Blue Note recording star and co-founder of the George Benson Quartet, he’s been featured on more than 70 albums. He has recorded and performed with many of the jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry and is stopping by the Myrna Loy on his way from New York to the Portland Jazz Fest.

Smith has just released his own 26th album, All In My Mind. He’ll be playing songs from it and standards that he interprets his own way.

“I make them mine,” he said.

He’s known for playing “in the moment.”

“I don’t know what it’s going to feel like, neither will they,” he said of the audience and sometimes his own musicians. “I’m going to throw a curveball … or maybe a drop ball, you never know what it’s going to be.”

But he never plays just for himself, he said. “You want to touch the people.”

While some describe his music as funk jazz, Smith prefers the term “spiritual.”

“It’s transcending. That is the key word. This is what I feel, I love to take the people with me on the journey.”

Along the way, Smith has been hailed as a “Legend,” a “Living Musical Icon,” and as the most creative jazz organist by a slew of music publications. Jazz Times magazine describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban!” Always ahead of the curve, it is no surprise Smith’s fan-base is truly worldwide.

Tickets are $27 and are available at 406-443-0287, online at, or at the box office, 15 N. Ewing.