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Herbie Hancock - Thrust CD (album) cover


Herbie Hancock


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.12 | 131 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars |B| A fusion-funk standard with intelligence, accessibility, and most of all... GROOVE!

Thrust was my intro album to the wonderful music of Herbie Hancock, easily one of the most revolutionary and experimental artists of the twentieth century. I'm good friends with a family that has collected prog, jazz, and fusion combinations of the two for over thirty years, to my luck. I told the jazz fan of the family I was getting really interested in jazz funk as well as fusion, especially after encountering the Brecker Brothers' early material and Return to Forever, and the first album he let me borrow to start off the bat was this one. And man, was it satisfying! I still love listening to it now and then after bombarding my brain with all the extreme metal I've been listening to lately, quite a nice contrast. I was very glad to see his works added to this site, to say the least, to give me the opportunity to proclaim my love for all of this great music of his.

To describe the composition, here we have a delicate combination of jazz fusion and funk, with a very jamming riff-based method of creating the music. Some of most spectacular conversations between musicians I've ever heard can be found right on this album. Every musician plays an incredibly active role in the overall effect of the music created, to such an extent as to create a truly complex piece of work, with very little repetition, save in the reoccurring themes that remind the listener where exactly the root of the track lies, each of which is spectacular. Hancock does a lot of great things with various keyboard settings, and they all play such a perfect role in the scheme of the groovy jamming madness in the heavier parts, as well as playing a truly brilliant atmospheric role in the softer parts. Most of the faster parts involve swift, almost furious drums and bass, and the keyboard and horn parts come in with a great catchy riffs on top. And best of all, every time I come back to hear this album, I find something really cool I hadn't noticed before, usually the way two or three of the instruments work together and converse, and with a five person ongoing conversations, this is true for every listen I give this album.

Two of the four tracks, the second and the third, stand out to me most as my favorites, both in their personal and intellectual effect on me. Actual Proof is especially entertaining for the way it came about in the production. The producer told them he had his own idea of how he wanted it to sound, while the band's collective idea was already there, so the producer told them that if they could play and record it perfectly once, it would be on the album, but if not, his idea of how the track ought to sound would trump. Of course, Hancock's group, being the virtuosos they were, pulled off victorious, which is especially astounding when you realize the shear complexity of the track. These aren't just musicians, they're borderline gods on their instruments. Butterfly is the other one that stands out to me, mainly because my group of prog-minded friends (two of which where in the family I mentioned) found it in a jazz real book, and we performed it for our High School recital our senior year. I put out a great sax solo and didn't want to stop for my friends' turn to solo, for the music here is seriously THAT self indulgent (and wonderfully so), especially for the performing musician. You just get so mentally sucked into it you never want to stop playing.

Whether your into prog or jazz or some great combination, this album, and the music of Hancock overall, is unlike anything you've ever heard before, even if your a jazz fusion fan as I am. And if you are such a fan, this is an album you really shouldn't go long without. Jazz mixed with fusion mixed with funk with hard hitting riffs and almost chaotic grooves... quite proggy, if you ask me. It's complex, yet so accessible; it's catchy, yet so mind-blowing; it's intellectual, yet so much funking fun!!!

Isa | 4/5 |


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