America/Brasil is a rollicking, celebratory album that keeps Herbie Mann on the winning streak he started with the release of Peace Pieces in 1995. Recorded during a week of concerts to mark his 65th birthday in April 1995, this disc is much stronger than its immediate predecessor, Celebration, also taken from the same week of live concert performances at New York's Blue Note jazz club. The material here is superb, and the playing top-notch. As the title implies, the emphasis here is on Mann's Brazilian side, but there are touches of the non-Brazilian with Bill Evans' "Peri's Scope" and Miles Davis' "All Blues." "Summertime" is recast in an Afro-Cuban mode with Paquito D'Rivera sharing the solo space on alto sax. However, lengthy Brazilian showstoppers are placed at the beginning, middle, and end of this wonderful disc. The opening "Keep the Spirits Singing" is propelled by the polyrhythmic pulse of percussionists Cyro Baptista and "Café," and the 17-minute title track finale features trumpeters Randy Brecker and Claudio Roditi, trombonist Jim Pugh, and guitarist Romero Lubambo.
Reissue with latest DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. This is a unique experiment in the Hancock discography, recorded in Tokyo in just one day during a tour of Japan. The first side contains two introspective, complex solo acoustic piano tracks, "Maiden Voyage" and "Dolphin Dance," which are notable since they date from a period when Hancock was supposedly totally immersed in electronics. Side two has two even more unusual pieces – "Nobu," a one-man show recorded in real time with the sample-and-hold feature of an ARP 2600 synthesizer providing a rhythm section for Hancock's electric keyboards, followed by "Cantaloupe Island" with a pre-recorded synth bassline.
The beat goes on, and Herbie Mann gets plenty darn groovy – serving up these short, soulful tunes that really pack a sweet little punch – thanks in part to some excellent work on vibes by the young Roy Ayers! Ayers' rings out next to Herbie's flute in a very cool way – almost Latin, but a bit groovier overall, with some echoes of bossa and 60s soundtrack jazz – all mixed with deeper soul currents that are very much in the best 60s jazz spirit of Atlantic Records! Jimmy Wisner handles the arrangements, and also plays some mean piano. Titles include Dave Pike's "Dream Garden", which was arranged by Pike himself – plus Herbie Mann's "West African High Life", and Herbie Hancock's "Hey Ho" – as well as the cuts "No Matter What Shape", "More Rice Than Peas, Please", "Soul Montuno", and "The Beat Goes On".
Herbie Hancock's V.S.O.P. project with his former bandmates from the Miles Davis Quintet – Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams – and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard was a band that almost single-handedly tried to re-establish acoustic jazz in the United States. And though they made three recordings, all of which were favorably reviewed and heralded by true jazz fans, none of them sold very well, and the band could find few gigs in the United States. The 1978 tour of major cities was thought to be a triumph at the time, but the unit could find few gigs afterward, and so its various members all went back to their other projects. In 1979, they got the opportunity to tour Japan and jumped at the chance. Sony, Hancock's Japanese label, recorded the two evenings, and the first, which took place during a furious rainstorm, was broadcast live on national television! Live Under the Sky marks the first time that this album has been available in the United States in any form. The original album featured eight cuts, and was minus the set's opener, "Eye of the Hurricane."
Reissue and remastered. Comes with new liner notes. Available only for a limited period of time until March 20, 2015. It's unlikely that two major musicians could have more in common than Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Born a year apart, they both got their starts on Blue Note sessions in the early 1960s, worked extensively with Miles Davis (albeit in very different periods), and were among the architects and biggest successes of fusion in the 1970s. Equally distinguished as pianists and composers, they share many of the same influences, both in classical music (Ravel, Debussy, Bartók) and jazz (Davis, John Coltrane, and Bill Evans), and in the late 1970s, both were dividing their time between electric and acoustic projects.
On first glance this record would not seem to have much promise from a jazz standpoint. Herbie Hancock performs a set of tunes which include numbers from the likes of Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder, Sade, Paul Simon, Prince, the Beatles ("Norwegian Wood") and Kurt Cobain. However by adding vamps, reharmonizing the chord structures, sometimes quickly discarding the melodies and utilizing an all-star band, Hancock was able to transform the potentially unrewarding music into creative jazz. Hancock, who sticks to acoustic piano, shows that he is still in prime form, taking quite a few fiery solos.
One of the most inventive albums we've ever heard from trombonist Herbie Harper – and that's saying a lot, given some of his other records! The group's an unusual one – with some key members that are likely – Jimmy Giuffre on tenor and baritone, Charlie Mariano on alto, and Jimmy Rowles on piano – mixed with other more compelling choices, such as Corky Hale on harp and Paul Sarmento on tuba – both instruments that really expand the sonic range of the session, in ways you might not expect to work this well!
Hancock's 2007 album, "River: The Joni Letters" won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second time a jazz album has won the award. Any doubts about the incongruity of jazz icon Herbie Hancock covering singer-songwriter extraordinare Joni Mitchell will be obliterated on the first journey through RIVER: THE JONI LETTERS. For starters, the premise is not especially incongruous. Hancock has had a long, adventurous career in which he's traversed genres and masterfully blended styles, while Mitchell has always been deeply influenced by jazz as both a composer and a singer. RIVER features many of Mitchell's finest songs, stunning in their own right and reinterpreted beautifully by Hancock, plus a stellar assortment of musicians and guest vocalists.