John Handy went to Impulse looking to get bigger sales. Hard Work, the album was a deliberate attempt to be more commercial. The title track from that album became such a success as a single (only the second hit for Impulse since Ray Charles recorded for that label several years previously) that they could hardly keep supply up with demand. It reached number 46 in the Billboard singles chart and number 52 in the UK singles chart. These chart palcings may sound modest but for an essentially instrumental single, the chant of "Hard work!" hardly counts as a vocal, it is quite incredible.
Sometimes when a jazz musician tries for commercial success the results are either bland and dull, all the jazzness is removed to make it appeal to a wider audience, or it itroduces too many elements of the current popular idiom and it falls flat.
Handy manages to avoid these pitfalls. Both these albums are rather special and I recommend them, especially for those, like me, who are avid collectors of albums from the Impulse label.
I bought this to replace my worn out LP, im very pleased with the cd it arrived on time and was well packaged. This cd is a combination of two john handy LPs. the remastering is exceiient bringing a freshness to the music, very pleased.