Toronto film producer raises money for Dr. Lonnie Smith documentary

A pair of filmmakers want to tell the story of Dr. Lonnie Smith and his journey from a childhood doo-wop singer to a Hammond B3 devotee to an NEA Jazz Master.

Emmy-winning Toronto producer Ed Barreveld is calling on jazz fans to help produce a “rough cut” of a documentary about the iconic organist so that it can be shown to potential purchasers and licensees.

Directed by first-time filmmaker Howard Goldstein, Dr. B3: The Soul of the Music will trace Smith’s life story using archival and contemporary concert footage and interviews with collaborators and fans such as George Benson, Lou Donaldson, Joe Lovano, Joey DeFrancesco, Rudy Van Gelder, Don Was, Paul Shaffer, Iggy Pop and Akiko Tsuruga.

Smith became known as a member of the George Benson quartet in the 1960s and recorded Blue Note albums with saxophonist Lou Donaldson before finding his own success as a solo artist with the prestigious jazz imprint. Known for his soulful style and dedication to his instrument, Smith was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2017.

Dr. B3 tells the story of a young man growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., who having heard the sound of Jimmy Smith and the B3, decided that the B3 was his calling,” Golstein says. “It is a miraculous story of almost divine intervention … [and] of a musician of exceptional creativity and spirituality.”

Barreveld adds: “It’s high time the good doctor gets a film made which tracks his illustrious career from his early doo-wop days to the Jazz Master he is today.”

The filmmakers are seeking up to $50,000 in a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, which includes a trailer for the film.


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