Dr. Lonnie Smith, acclaimed musician, composer, recording artist, and performer, is missed all over the world after passing away on Sept. 28. An internationally-revered jazz icon, he grew up in Buffalo, learned how to play music by ear, and was a master of the Hammond B-3 organ.

He won a multitude of honors, including the Village Music Legends Award, was emulated by other artists, and was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

What You Need To Know

  • Lonnie Smith was an acclaimed musician, composer, recording artist and performer

  • He passed away on Sept. 28

  • He was an internationally-revered jazz icon

  • Smith was a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame

To the very end, he was a fixture in the international music scene. His last CD, Breathe, was released just this year.

He loved being a musician, but there was another title that he cared deeply about.

“To the world, he’s this big icon and he’s so popular,” said Smith’s daughter, Chandra Thomas. “People were like, ‘I didn’t know your father was such a great talent.’ I’m like, ‘He’s just Daddy to me.”’

No matter how busy Smith’s career became, and where in the world it took him, Thomas says that he always made time for his six children and for his home city. Even after he became famous, he repeatedly returned to Buffalo to perform at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

“He speaks of love, because that was what my dad was all about, love,” Thomas explained.

Though he is now gone from his family, Thomas says that the love he shared with everyone remains.