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Herbie Hancock - Herbie Hancock & the New Standard Allstars in Japan CD (album) cover


Herbie Hancock


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars In 1996 legendary American jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (b. 1940) released an album called The New Standard, based on rather contemporary pop compositions instead of the usual 'standards', Gershwin, Porter and such from the earlier decades. In August 3rd the same year, Hancock and his co- musicians performed music from that album at Kawaguchi Lake Jazz Festival, Japan. This 71-minute DVD contains five pieces plus three interview clips in between them.

The boring-looking DVD release itself has very minimal amount of information; it was one of the interview clips that led me to the mentioned album, after which I checked the original song writers from the PA album page. 'New York Minute' (Don Henley et al.) and 'You've Got It Bad Girl' (Stevie Wonder) weren't that familiar to me, but the other three I knew in advance as songs: The Beatles classic 'Norwegian Wood', Peter Gabriel's 'Mercy Street' and Sade's 'Love Is Stranger Than Pride'.

Each interpretation (between 9 and nearly 16 minutes in length) is full-bred jazz with lots of improvisational extensions, and often the listener recognizes the tune only momentarily when the players return to the song's main melody. The sextet is Hancock on piano, John Scofield on electric guitar, Michael Brecker on tenor sax, Dave Holland on double bass, Jack De Johnette on drums and Don Alias on percussion. They play brilliantly together. This is exactly what good live jazz is: boundary-breaking, fresh, organic, virtuotic ensemble playing. Composition-wise, a pop song is just a starting point. Each piece functions well. Only on 'Mercy Street', so dear to me as Peter Gabriel's deeply moving original song, it took a bit longer to adjust my ears to this livelier and faster interpretation.

An A class jazz concert musically, but the DVD could have been fancier in every aspect. The camera work is of average level, concentrating mostly on playing hands.

Matti | 4/5 |


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