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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Johnny HammondGears (with bonus tracks) ... LP
Milestone/BGP (UK), 1975. New Copy 2LP Gatefold (reissue)... $26.99
One of our favorite albums of all time – and a record that just gets better and better the more we listen to it – and we've listened to it for years! Johnny "Hammond" Smith began his career as a simple soul jazz organist – but by the time of this album, he'd teamed up with the mighty Larry Mizell, the genius arranger/producer who'd breathed new life into the careers of Donald Byrd and Bobbi Humphrey. Mizell works with Hammond in the same way he does with other jazz artists – by taking a groove that works best with their solo style, and slowly layering other instrumentation and effects on top of it, so that when the solo kicks in, it's supported on waves and waves of funky sounds and soulful grooves. Mizell and his brother Fonce both play keyboards on the record, and the rest of the group includes monster fusion players like Harvey Mason, Roger Glenn, Hadley Caliman, and Jerry Peters. The real treat is Johnny, though – as his solos are heavenly, the best of his 70s work, stripped mean and lean, laid in at just the right points. Includes the breakbeat classic "Shifting Gears", the house classic "Los Conquistadores Chocolates", and funky numbers "Fantasy" and "Tell Me What To Do". This stunning version adds in some killer bonus tracks – 6 never-heard cuts from the Milestone vaults, including "Song For My Family", "Funky Native", "Detroit Rainbow", "Can't We Smile (alt)", and slow and fast versions of "A Child's Love". LP, Vinyl record album
Also available Gears (with bonus tracks) ... CD 14.99

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ivan Boogaloo Joe JonesBlack Whip ... LP
Prestige/BGP (UK), 1973. New Copy ... $14.99
Amazing stuff from Ivan Boogaloo Joe Jones! Unlike some of the other players on Prestige during the early 70s – who often got a bit weaker as the decade moved on, thanks to the departure of some of the better forces arranging and producing the records – Jones kept on playing hard, improving his guitar skill to a point where he was riffing and grooving away at a pace that's simply mindblowing when you hear it. Case in point is the mighty "Black Whip", a fantastic bit of funky jazz that cracks back and forth with all the whiplike qualities hinted at in the title – and which has a totally infectious jazz dance groove that always gets us on the floor. Other titles include the original groovers "Freak Off" and "Crank Me Up", both tasty numbers, plus some mellow pop covers like "My Love" and "Daniel". LP, Vinyl record album

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bernard PurdieShaft ... LP
Prestige/BGP (UK), 1972. New Copy (reissue)... $15.99
A full funky session from master drummer Bernard Purdie – a set that expands out his previous Prestige vibe, and almost goes for a soundtrack scope to match the record's Shaft title! The set leads off with a great take on the Isaac Hayes hit – one that follows in the same fully-flowing, slow-building mode as Ike's – but which comes across here as an instrumental with some great solo work from Houston Person – playing here almost in a Stanley Turrentine sort of mode! Other tracks continue the hip mix of jazz and larger backings – and feature a lineup of players that includes Neal Creque on electric piano, Gerry Thomas and Danny Moore on trumpets, Willie Bridges and Houston Person on tenors, Billy Nichols and Lloyd Davis on guitars, Gordon Edwards on Fender bass, and Norman Pride on congas. The sound is warm without ever sounding too smooth – and Purdie's funky drums at the bottom ensure that most tunes are nicely lively. Titles include "Shaft", "Butterfingers", "Summer Melody", "Changes", "Way Back Home", and "Attica". LP, Vinyl record album
Also available Shaft ... LP 19.99

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