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Growing up in a musical family, Lonnie Liston Smith was exposed to music through his father, whose visitors to the family home included Sam Cooke and others who would influence Smith’s future.
Smith started out as a piano player, first recording with Rahsaan Roland Kirk before joining up with Art Blakey’s The Jazz Messengers. He later joined forces with Pharoah Sanders, and it was in this capacity that he first discovered the electric piano.
Smith then signed on with Miles Davis, who insisted that he learned to play the organ. Only after these sessions did Lonnie form his own outfit, Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echoes. This influential group kept at it until the mid-‘80s. Smith’s music has recently been rediscovered by a new generation of musicians who have name-checked The Cosmic Echoes records.