Ruth Hammond was voted runner-up in the young jazz musician of the year in 1998 for her work on the saxophone. As well as playing sax, she also plays keyboards, as well as singing and writing songs. She brings all these talents to bear on her debut album, "All The Good Things."
The album opens with "School's Out" a relatively understated piece of sophisticated jazz-funk. It offers a fair representation of much of what is to follow. There is a light jazz-funk air permeating the album, which mostly calls to mind the likes of Steely Dan. For the second track ("Itchy Feet"), though, the band crank things up a bit. Bass player Greig Robinson and guitarist James Pusey both earn their corn on a tune that could easily
have come from the pen of Stevie Wonder (circa mid 1970's period).
The impact of Hammond's voice really starts to hit home on the catchy "Living Your Love." It comes across as a sort of blend of the late great Dusty Springfield and Dido, combining a soulful feel with a pop sensibility. The end result is very pleasant to listen to, and the inclusion of a trio of backing singers help to further enhance the overall
appeal. It all comes together best on "Another Day Gone." Again, Pusey does a fine job laying down an insistent funky guitar line that helps make the song stick in the mind.
There is a general lightness of touch to the whole of the proceedings, with things getting very mellow for "St Clears" which has an almost lazy relaxed feel to it. The title track, which closes the album, slows things down further. Although it borders on the melancholy, it is held together by another fine vocal performance from Hammond.
"All The Good Things" shows that Ruth Hammond is a talented musician. She
can play keyboards, and sing, and write good catchy songs mainly in a jazz/funk vein that has a strong pop influence. It is a well crafted album, and Hammond has put together a strong backing band. Anyone who likes the sort of stuff that Steely Dan used to play, will find much here to enjoy.
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