Lonnie Smith and Crescent Boogaloo: City Soul
There's a new soul/jazz/funk supergroup on the loose. It's called Crescent Boogaloo, and it consists of Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ), Donald Harrison (alto saxophone), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Christian Scott (trumpet), and Herlin Riley (drums). When Crescent Boogaloo performed in Seattle, three of the band's members — Smith, Harrison, and Bernstein — had time to visit the KPLU studios for a delightful afternoon jam session.
The trio opened with one of Smiths's funk pieces, "Just a Matt 'a Pat," written for two of his friends. The band's second number, a swinging mid-tempo version of "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise," highlights Bernstein's stunning guitar work.
But it was Crescent Boogaloo's third and final song of the day that stopped us all in our tracks. It was another Smith composition, called "Pilgrimage," and the only word to describe it is righteous. It's a gospel-flavored song that brought out the best in Smith and allowed alto saxophonist Harrison to dig deep into his New Orleans musical roots for a jaw-dropping solo. It was a truly uplifting ending to a wonderful set from three jazz masters.