For those regular readers of Flea Market Funk, you know full well that I have a sweet spot for the Hammond B-3 and other keyboards. Recently, I was contacted by the widow of Johnny Hammond Smith, Cheryl, who told me about an interesting project she is working on. She has unearthed approximately 40 1-inch reel-to-reel tapes that were recorded during the last few years of Johnny’s life. These include intimate recordings of his own creations, some with the organ and some on Fender Rhodes. This batch of music has never been made public. Now, for those of you that have followed Johnny’s career from the straight ahead Jazz of the 50’s to his Soul Jazz and then Funk Fusion and beyond, there seems to be some really interesting stuff from what has been leaked from the tapes. What she is hoping to achieve, is to produce a digital release of these recordings, plus a double LP as well. Just thinking of recordings like Rock Steady, Gambler’s Life, Gears, and Wild Horses that were released in the early to mid 70’s (and that are funky as hell!), I can imagine what kind of freedom he gave himself in the mid 90’s before he passed. This is a great project preserving the history of Johnny Hammond Smith’s music that would otherwise be sitting on a shelf collecting dust in Nashville, but now there is a chance that Johnny Hammond fans, as well as Jazz fans, can help keep his music alive.
Check out the Kickstarter campaign for Johnny Hammon Smith: His Time is Now