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Herbie Hancock - Crossings CD (album) cover


Herbie Hancock


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.26 | 339 ratings

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3 stars I rated this when I wasn't regularly reviewing, so... Here's my review! This is Herbie's tenth solo studio album, released 1972, and is a landmark of this period. As with Mwandishi before it, Crossings is an Avant-garde Jazz album with the beginnings of his own adventures into Fusion. And just like it, this album has just three longform tracks. This is a star-studded cast of musicians, featuring Eddie Henderson on horns, Bennie Maupin on numerous reeds, Julian Priester on trombones and bass, Buster Williams on bass, and Billy Hart on drums. All performers were responsible for percussion in addition to whatever their primary instruments were, as should be of no surprise given my descriptions of the tracks below. Patrick Gleeson is featured performing Moog synthesizer.

The first of these tracks is the almost 25 minute long "Sleeping Giant", which is, at first, an experimentation with various rhythms, reminiscent to me immediately of Steve Reich. It is almost 3 minutes until we hear other instrumentation. Ultimately, it's minimal, but there is a lot going on at once. Super funky, this also feels very tribal. Everything is driving full-speed ahead. Aside from the barrage of percussive elements, the main thrust is Herbie's electric keys and Buster's double bass (I assume it's not electric). It shifts firmly around minute 11 to a very danceable rhythm. It drops away and in minute 13, we return to the funk. I just gotta have it! An absolutely awesome performance is featured here by Bennie Maupin on sax... So sweet.

Up next, "Quasar"! This track in its intro has a different sort of classical vibe. As my girlfriend just said, it does have a sort of whimsy about it haha. A tad eerie, no? Something in this hearkens back to the spacy vibe throughout Bitches Brew, but to me also calls Sun Ra to mind. Regardless, super Avant-garde on this'n.

More eeriness happens on... of course it is... on "Water Torture", our third and final track. This song is dually spacy, featuring more prominently(?) that Moog from Gleeson. A very nice touch. More callbacks here, I feel, to Bitches Brew... but what else? Unsure. I think my main issue, if I can say so, is that these last two tracks are very singularly focused. They're sonically interesting, for sure, but Papa needs more compositional interest. 'Nuff said?

True Rate: 3.5/5.0

DangHeck | 3/5 |


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