Johnny "Hammond" Smith

Legends of Acid Jazz, Vol. 2

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Prestige's second volume of Johnny "Hammond" Smith's recordings in their Legends of Acid Jazz series contains two full original albums: 1967's Soul Flowers and its 1968 follow-up, Dirty Grape. Both sessions were recorded within four months of each other with the same sextet, featuring guitarist Wally Richardson, tenor saxophonists Houston Person and Earl Edwards, bassist Jimmy Lewis, drummer John Harris, and Richard Landrum on conga. On both records, he basically tackles modern pop -- songs that were hits on the pop and R&B charts and songs from movies and TV. This could have been predictable, lightly swinging jazz-pop, like so many soul-jazz records of its ilk in the late '60s, but what makes both sessions so enjoyable is that the band is lively, gritty, and clearly having fun with this material. Of the two, Soul Flowers is a little more satisfying, but both are highly enjoyable and they make for a great two-fer -- one that's the equal of Smith's first edition of Legends of Acid Jazz.

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