Watch the Do the Lou online guitar lesson by David Hamburger from 50 Jazz-Blues Licks You MUST Know

If you can’t play the blues, you can’t play no jazz, I don’t care who it is or how much you study. So says Lou Donaldson, the blues-drenched, bebop-torch bearing altoist who appeared on more than one occasion with the regally beturbaned Lonnie Smith cooking behind him.

Smith himself has been playing the blues and a whole lot else ever since he was featured on some of the first George Benson records in the mid-Sixties. After making his own first record as a leader with both Benson and Melvin Sparks on guitar, Smith signed to Blue Note, in part at the behest of Donaldson.

These days, with fellow originators like Jimmy Smith, Richard "Groove" Holmes and Jack McDuff no longer around, Lonnie Smith officially falls into the category of Elder Statesman, a situation only accented by his Sikh turban and possibly self-bestowed honorific "Doctor." But when a guy can play like this, I say, let him call himself whatever he wants.