egroj world: Johnny 'Hammond' Smith • Wild Horses Rock Steady
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viernes, 11 de agosto de 2017

Johnny 'Hammond' Smith • Wild Horses Rock Steady

Review by Thom Jurek
Johnny Hammond's 1972 soul-jazz beauty is another stunning example of great creativity at Creed Taylor's Kudu label through the mid-'70s. Arranged by Bob James, Hammond's trademark B-3 work is showcased here on six extended cover versions of tunes from the pop vernacular. The lineup includes guitarists George Benson, Eric Gale, and Melvin Sparks, saxophonists Grover Washington, Jr. and Pepper Adams, bassist Ron Carter (playing electric as well as double bass), and drummers Bernard Purdie and Billy Cobham!
There are grooves galore in this wondrously mixed set, from the smoking guitar breaks in the read of Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady" to the syncopated organ pyrotechnics in "It's Impossible," with Washington playing his ass off around Hammond's organ breaks, and the beautiful horn arrangements by James in "Peace Train." The funky-butt glimmer in "I Don't Know How to Love Him" could have been played by the Stax/Volt horns with a Funk Brothers rhythm section. James weaves a string section in harmonic counterpoint to Hammond's organ in the melody, creating a moving tapestry of textures against the backbeat. But nothing can prepare the listener for the closing cover of Jagger and Richard's "Wild Horses," with a military snare beat providing an unlikely intro to an "All Along the Watchtower"-like progression that transforms itself seamlessly into a darkly minor reading of the original melody, with beautiful fills by Benson and Sparks. When the horns kick in during the refrain with plenty of fuzz guitar and bass over the top, the listener falls headlong into the magic of dirty groove and roll.

Track listing
"Rock Steady" (Aretha Franklin) - 6:48
"Who Is Sylvia?" (Galt MacDermot) - 7:25
"Peace Train" (Cat Stevens) - 4:31
"I Don't Know How to Love Him" (Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber) - 7:35
"It's Impossible" (Armando Manzanero, Sid Wayne) - 5:27
"Wild Horses" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 6:26

Johnny Hammond - organ, electric piano
Al DeRisi, Snooky Young - trumpet, flugelhorn (tracks 3, 4 & 6)
Wayne Andre - trombone (tracks 4 & 6)
Grover Washington Jr. - tenor saxophone, alto saxophone (tracks 1-3, 5 & 6)
Harold Vick - tenor saxophone (tracks 3 & 6)
Pepper Adams - baritone saxophone (tracks 3, 4 & 6)
George Benson (tracks 4 & 5), Eric Gale (tracks 1, 2 & 6), Bob Mann (tracks 3, 4 & 6), Melvin Sparks (tracks 1, 4 & 6) - guitar
Ron Carter - double bass, electric bass
Billy Cobham (tracks 2-6), Bernard Purdie (track 1) - drums
Omar Clay (tracks 1 & 2), Airto Moreira (tracks 1, 2 & 4-6) - percussion
Julius Brand, Paul Gershman, Emanuel Green, Julius Held, Harry Katzman, Joe Malin, Gene Orloff, Max Polikoff - violin (tracks 1, 2, 4 & 5)
Bob James - arranger, conductor
Creed Taylor - producer
Rudy Van Gelder - engineer

Released 1972
Recorded October and November 1971
Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs
Length 38:12

148 MB / 320 Kbps

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