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Herbie Hancock - The Herbie Hancock Group: Head Hunters CD (album) cover


Herbie Hancock


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.90 | 225 ratings

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3 stars About a year after recording the highly experimental Sextant, Hancock decided to abandon the commercially unsuccessful path of the 'Mwandishi' albums. He surrounded himself with a new band and injected his high standard jazz wizardry with funky grooves and sparser improvisations. Melody is largely sacrificed in favor of the prominent groove, which makes this a less favorable release amongst prog audiences.

The opening Chameleon is the track to get here. It's a popular and absolutely infectious funk groove with catchy hooks aplenty. Halfway in it settles for a dub groove with a cool jazzy vibe. It's often criticized because of its 'cheap' synth-bass riff but it's simply magnificent. Hancock sure knows how to recognize a catchy tune if he sees one.

The remainder of the album has a hard time catching up with this track but remains mostly very good and enjoyable. Watermelon Man has a slow beat, almost like hiphop in a way, arranged very sparsely with some African flutes. Sly is a lot busier, with a elaborate rhythmical interplay between bass, Hancock's processed rhodes piano and the mind-blowing drums. This track seems to go on endlessly and I must say I enjoy it better while doing the dusting then when actually sitting and listening to it. Vein Melter is spacier, with a slow dub rhythm and reverbed rhodes piano, some effects and a nice brass melodies to round it off. Nice one.

Hancock sure boosted his popularity with this album, and that is entirely deserved for such strong and simultaneously accessible music. 3.5 stars, not because it isn't 'progressive' but simply because it weighs decisively less then the preceding Mwandishi albums which were all excellent or better.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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