Johnny Hammond: Breakout (2002)
A prime example of the CTI label’s indulgence in the commercial possibilities of jazz, Breakout gave Johnny Hammond the opportunity to escape from the long shadow cast by Jimmy Smith. Sticking with the Hammond B-3, by this time a bit old-fashioned as many had become enchanted with the Fender Rhodes, Hammond and his band contribute an album’s worth of soul jazz workouts. By this time, rock tunes had become the new would-be standards and Hammond proves that such unlikely candidates as Carole King and Neil Sedaka could provide the bedrock for muscular solos. Grover Washington, Jr. shows immense potential as a fiery soloist, giving little indication of the bloodless playing of his later records, and Gale, indulging in the influence of rock guitar, makes the most of his time with some scorching solos. This style of music combines the influence of rock and jazz into a hard-hitting mix that won’t be to everyone’s tastes, especially those who like their jazz cut and dry, but Breakout easily stands up with the best work of the era.
Track Listing: It's Too Late, Workin' On A Groovy Thing, Never Can Say Goodbye, Blues Selah, Breakout, It's Too Late (live).
Personnel: Hank Crawford - Sax (Alto); Johnny Hammond - Organ; Airto Moreira - Percussion; Billy Cobham - Drums; Eric Gale - Guitar; Grover Washington, Jr. - Sax (Tenor); Danny Moore - Trumpet; John Williams - Keyboards; Johnny Williams - Bass.