John Hammond's passion and commitment to his music have inspired blues lovers throughout the world for more than forty years. Now guitarists (and harmonica players) can learn, up close, how John plays the songs, licks, grooves and soulful solos that make up his dynamic blues style.
Thanks to the 1970s and '80s soul jazz movement and its 21st century counterpart, acid jazz, the Hammond B-3 organ has shown a remarkable ability to survive and adapt to changing musical trends – all without changing its swirling, pulsing tone one little bit. The Hammond Street anthology from Acid Jazz mixes in tracks from a couple of veteran B-3 players like Jimmy McGriff and Reuben Wilson with tracks from newer combos, and even though these newer groups cover songs like Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," what is immediately obvious here is how much a B-3 sounds like a B-3 no matter what kind of clothes you drape over it. Highlights include the hard-charging "Itchy Feet" by the Past Present Organisation (which opens the disc), the ragged and energy-overloaded "Clubtown" by the Trashmonkeys, McGriff's "Ain't It Funky" (which indeed it is), and Wilson's "Sugar," a classic piece of soul jazz.
Acid Jazz continue their long term love affair with that most iconic of instruments, the Hammond organ and his little pal, the Leslie organ…
John Hammond's latest album marks a major departure in one respect – for the first time in anyone's memory, he sings, but plays nothing on one of his records, while Little Charlie & the Nightcats, led by guitarist Charlie Baty, handle the guitars and everything else. The difference is very subtle, the playing maybe a little less flashy than Hammond's already restrained work – think of how good Muddy Waters sounded on the early-'60s records where he sang and didn't play. And that comparison is an apt one – even more than 35 years after he started, Hammond inevitably ends up sounding like its 1961 and he's working at Chess studios in Chicago, cutting songs between Muddy Waters sessions. Harpist Rick Estrin also contributes a smooth and eminently enjoyable original amid a brace of covers of blues standards. There is not a weak number here, and this band is a kick to listen to, sounding more naturally authentic than anybody in the 1990's has a right to (Baty's quiet pyrotechnics on "Lookin' for Trouble" would make this record worth owning, even if Hammond's singing and the rest of the songs weren't as good as they are).