Two classics from saxophonist John Handy – records that really made him a household name in the 70s! Hard Work is the biggest moment ever for saxophonist John Handy – an album that crossed over big, thanks to a tremendously funky title cut! Handy first rose to fame back in the 60s – playing modernist jazz with Charlies Mingus, and opening up on his own in a stretch of great albums that evolved from hardbop, to modal jazz, to some even freer world jazz experiments in the 70s. Here, though, he's back in very soulful territory – working in a combo that has keyboards and guitar, and plenty of grooves that are somewhere in a space
between early 70s CTI/
Kudu and similar dates on Cadet or Prestige Records! The style's a great balance of modes – and although electric, the album's never too smooth – thanks to relatively small instrumentation on most numbers, and an approach that still lets most of the energy come from the interaction of the core group members. Players include Hotep Cecil Barnard on keyboards, Mike Hoffman on guitar, Chuck Rainey on bass, and James Gadson on drums – and Handy plays both alto and tenor, and even sings a bit on a few cuts. Titles include the JBs-styled "Hard Work", plus "Afro Wiggle", "Didn't I Tell You", "Love For Brother Jack", "You Don't Know", and "Young Enough To Dream". Carnival is a well-blown set from alto saxophonist John Handy – recorded with larger arrangements at a time when Impulse Records was trying to match the sounds of CTI, but done in a way that still holds onto all the sharp soul of Handy's earlier years! The format's nice and full – with lots of keyboards from Sonny Burke, George Spencer, and even Lee Ritenour – but Handy's crisp alto lines cut through the record wonderfully, bringing in these soulful tones that remind us a lot of Gary Bartz in a similar setting – always filled with spirit, and searching out with a nice sense of personal
ity. Titles include the groover "Watch Your Money Go" – plus "All The Things You Are", "Carnival", "Alvina", and "Love's Rejoicing".
(Tray card has a cutout hole.)