When: Mon., March 31, 7 p.m. 2014
It’s been nearly 50 years since Dr. Lonnie Smith first rose to fame in the George Benson Quartet, and at 71, he shows no signs of slowing down. If you need evidence that he’s vital as ever, check out 2012’s The Healer: “Dapper Dan,” featuring some exceptional footwork on the bass pedals by Smith, is insanely funky, and “Backtrack” is a dark and trippy excursion as satisfying as any jazz cut of the last few years. Dude ain’t resting on his laurels — but of course, if you saw his breathtaking performance at East Nashville’s Payne Chapel almost exactly a year ago, you already know that. This show features another keyboard master, Cyrus Chestnut, doing a set of solo piano. Chestnut’s the kind of soulful and melodic player who can win you over even if you don’t consider yourself a jazz fan — not to say there’s no harmonic complexity to his music, just that he never gets so heady that he loses the groove, or for that matter, your attention. Last year’s Soul Brother Cool proves that point: For Chestnut, whether he’s digging deep into straight-ahead bop on “The Raven” or laying back on the delightfully lounge-y title track, swing is the thing. Proceeds from the show benefit Fisk University and Daniel Payne Outreach Ministries. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com/event/600447.