Johnny Hammond is one of those artists where you can randomly pick an album from his catalog, and it will most likely be something amazing. As an accomplished jazz artist in the 50s and 60s, in the mid-70’s, which was the twilight of his recording career, he worked with the untouchable arrangers the Mizell Brothers to produce a gem of an album entitled Gears.
This album is a perfect example of not judging a book by it’s cover. This album art for Gears is arguably unassuming and bland, and in a record search it is easy to overlook the album, but on first listen it is hard to not fall in love with the funk filled riffs, harmonious chords, and smooth arrangements and vocals, provided once again by the Mizell Brothers who’s fingerprints are all over this project. But let’s not overlook Johnny Hammond, after all, it is his album! Hammond, who’s birth name is Johnny Smith who obtained the nickname for his skills with the Hammond B-3 organ, makes a smooth transition to playing the electronic keyboards and synthesizers, which can be heard throughout the album.
Lastly, we cannot understate the impact that his particular album has made to hip hop, R&B, and neo soul, just to name a few. As you listen to this album, you hear multiple elements of each song used in contemporary music, proving that this album is a staple for producers across the board, and that it’s sound is interchangeable amongst multiple genres. This album has a perfect summertime feel, and it is enjoyable no matter where you are, and what time it is.
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Written by: @Haylow