Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Johnny Hammond ''Gears''

Johnny Hammond

( LP Milestone Records, 1975 )
Catalog # M-9062

A1 Tell Me What To Do 5:16
A2 Los Conquistadores Chocolatés 5:56
Vocals [Recitation] - William Jordan
A3 Lost On 23rd Street 6:36
B1 Fantasy 6:06
Written-By - Hammond, L. Mizell
B2 Shifting Gears 5:19
B3 Can't We Smile 4:35

Hadley Caliman Gears Sax (Tenor)
Johnny Hammond Organ, Main Performer, Performer, Synthesizer, Piano (Electric)
Julian Priester Gears Trombone
Chuck Rainey Bass (Electric)
Roger Glenn Flute, Vibraphone
Kenneth Nash Percussion
William Jordan Recitation
Jerry Peters Piano, Piano (Electric)
Sigidi Gears Conductor
Michael White Violin
Harvey Mason, Sr. Drums
Craig McMullen Guitar
Fonce Mizell Vocals (Background), Producer, Clavinet, Vocal Arrangement
Larry Mizell Arranger, Vocals (Background), Producer, Vocal Arrangement, Solina

Produced for Sky High Productions, Inc.
Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, July 1975.
Remixed at Sound Factory, Hollywood, September 1975.
Harvey Mason appears courtesy of Arista Records. Roger Glenn appears courtesy of Prestige Records.
Format:Vinyl, LP, Album


Gears was organist Johnny 'Hammond' Smith's 32nd album. A talented player, he'd been recording since 1958, and after many successful years at the Prestige label, he cut a series of increasingly funky releases for Creed Taylor's CTI label in the early 70s.
Gears, his first for the Milestone imprint saw him stretching out his soulful, economic style of playing over six extended workouts. The album is as much about the production and writing skills of Larry and Fonce Mizell (their second collaboration with Hammond) as much as Hammond’s remarkable playing. The Mizells had worked at Motown, and separated from the label to found their own Sky High Productions.
Their work with artists such as Donald Byrd showed them departing from commerciality to create a wild brew of very 70s grooves; synthesisers and striking vocal arrangements that were both in-step with and ahead of their time.
Gears is like a text book for jazz-funk. The rhythm section of Harvey Mason Snr and Chuck Rainey are right there on the one throughout, allowing Hammond, guitarist Craig McMullen and the horn section to go with the Mizzell Brothers' directions.
The funk workout of Los Conquistadores Chocolates, with its chiming guitar, was picked up by David Mancusco at his legendary New York venue, The Loft. Lost On 23rd Street provides a dreamy city soundscape
But it is Can't We Smile that perfectly encapsulates the chilled ethos that courses through Gears. Sounding at least 20 years ahead of its time, it's a slow-moving masterpiece of languid voices and piano, with breathtaking contributions from Michael White on violin. It’s no wonder that DJs such as Mr Scruff compiled this in the 21st Century.
At once sophisticated, joyous and accessible, Gears had a profound influence on UK funkateers, and still sounds as fresh today as it did in the mid 70s.
From BBC Music Reviews

Biography by Ron Wynn (AMG)

Organist. He is also known as Johnny "Hammond" Smith to distinguish him from the more famous record producer, executive, and critic and/or his son. An organist in the soul-jazz mode, he had a brief moment in the spotlight with the '70s album Breakout, where his version of "It's Too Late" with Grover Washington, Jr. and Hank Crawford was a huge East Coast radio hit. Hammond is a competent, sometimes funky player.

Source: Internet

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