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Dr. Lonnie Smith (not to be confused with Lonnie Liston Smith) was born in Lackawanna, New York, (just outside of Buffalo). His affinity for R&B melded with his own personal style, and he quickly became a local legend. He moved to New York City, where he met George Benson, the guitarist for Jack McDuff's band. Benson and Smith connected on a personal level, and the two formed the George Benson Quartet featuring Lonnie Smith in 1966.