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Johnny Hammond – Gears

Johnny Hammond
Gears
Style: Jazz
Label: Milestone
Catalog Number: M-9062
Released: 1975, 70's
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One of the all time greatest 70’s jazz-funk albums, Gears features organist Johnny “Hammond” Smith in collaboration with the legendary Mizell brothers. The album was released in 1975 after the Mizell Brothers had released a slew of jazz-funk classics including Donald Byrd’s Spaces and Places, The Blackbyrds self-titled album, and Bobbi Humphrey’s Satin Doll. As can be expected with Mizell Brothers productions, the album is equally sophisticated as it is funky and features the musicians playing at the very height of their capabilities. It’s hard to say who or what shines brightest on this incredible album… Is it Hammond’s remarkable organ and synthesizer work, the all-star backing band that includes bassist Chuck Rainey and Mwandishi member Julian Priester, or the Mizell Brothers’ wildly creative arrangements and songwriting? It’s all truly great and a serious masterwork that still holds up on dance floors today. The uptempo instrumental A2 Los Conquistadores Chocolates was played by David Mancuso at his famed Loft parties. B1 Fantasy is a rare groove classic that features an incredible minute of organ shredding from Hammond. It’s hard to pick a favorite here but our cut of the bunch has got to be the futurist and soulful B3 Can’t We Smile that includes some of the waviest synthesizers we’ve ever heard on a jazz record.

– Phil Cho

Recommended – Full Listen

Tags: Essential Listening / Jazz-funk / Mizell Brothers / Samples / Soul
Tracklist:

A1 Tell Me What To Do
A2 Los Conquistadores Chocolatés
A3 Lost On 23rd Street
B1 Fantasy
B2 Shifting Gears
B3 Can’t We Smile

Credits:

Arranged By – Larry Mizell
Arranged By [Vocals], Backing Vocals, Producer – Larry & Fonce Mizell*
Art Direction – Phil Carroll
Clavinet – Fonce Mizell
Conductor, Copyist – Sigidi
Coordinator – William Jordan
Cymbal, Gong, Percussion – Kenneth Nash
Drums – Harvey Mason
Electric Bass – Chuck Rainey
Electric Piano – Jerry Peters, Johnny Hammond
Engineer, Mixed By [Remix Assistant] – Jeff Hawks
Engineer, Mixed By [Remix] – David Hassinger*, Jim Nipar
Engineer, Recorded By – Eddie Bill Harris
Executive-Producer – Orrin Keepnews
Flute, Vibraphone – Roger Glenn
Guitar – Craig McMullen, John Rowin
Keyboards [Solina] – Larry Mizell
Organ, Synthesizer – Johnny Hammond
Photography By – Phil Bray
Photography By [Cover] – Charlie Franklin
Piano – Jerry Peters
Recorded By [Assistant] – Phil Kaffel
Tenor Saxophone – Hadley Caliman
Trombone – Julian Priester
Violin – Michael White (2)
Written-By – Larry & Fonce Mizell* (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)

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