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Hard Work / Carnival

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Album Review

Originally released separately on Impulse, this two-fer combines saxophonist John Handy's 1976 release Hard Work and Carnival, which came out the following year. These dates find Handy branching out from modern jazz and combining lite jazz with smooth R&B. "Hard Work" became a radio hit and the remaining tracks — all original Handy compositions — will appeal to fans of smooth jazz. Carnival is a bit more festive. The title cut has traces of the traditional melody associated with Sonny Rollins "Don't Stop the Carnival," but like the previous set, Carnival is mainly smooth jazz with synthesizers. The only cover version recorded for these dates is “All the Things You Are,” a duet with Reginald Burke on acoustic piano and Handy on alto. This two-fer offers very pleasant background music, but those expecting to hear Handy in a post-bop setting should skip this one. The music has been remastered and, while there are no bonus tracks or new liner notes, Impulse had the good taste to restore the original packaging: front and back cover art and liner notes.


Born: February 3, 1933 in Dallas, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A talented and adventurous altoist whose career has gone through several phases, John Handy started playing alto in 1949. After moving to New York in 1958, he had a fiery period with Charles Mingus (1958-1959) that resulted in several passionate recordings that show off his originality; he also recorded several dates as a leader for Roulette. Handy led his own bands during 1959-1964, and played with Mingus at the 1964 Monterey Jazz Festival, but it was at the following year's festival that he was...
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Hard Work / Carnival, John Handy
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