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All The Good Things by Ruth Hammond

This British import is very easy on the ears. Not strictly a jazz record, Ruth Hammond turns in nine original jazz & funk tinged pop originals on this set. The CD carries a very distinct 1970s vibe, bringing to mind artists like Stevie Wonder, Carole King and Sly Stone at different times, with Hammond's soulful but subdued vocals and funky Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes keyboard playing connecting the different influences.

"Schools Out" opens the album with a slow, slyly funky bass riff recalling Steely Dan's "Babylon Sister" and a Keyboard riff reminiscent of Deodato's version of Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathusthra." "Itchy Feet" is nice piece funk, again driven by bassist Greig Robinson. "Living Your Love" is a nice ballad a la Carole King, but with the jazz influence further up front.

These and the album's other pieces are more than the sum of their influences, though, and Hammond and co. sometimes pull wonderful things out of nowhere: dig the sitar break that closes the Bill Withers-esque vamp "Only So Many Ways" and the beautiful, spacey coda to the title track which otherwise sounds like the kind of thing that Sade might have recorded. Not a record for jazz purists, but this CD should really appeal to fans of crossover jazz pop, especially of the classic ’70’s variety.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ruth Hammond
  • CD Title: All The Good Things
  • Genre: Soul / Funk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Tenterhook Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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