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Herbie Hancock - Mr. Hands CD (album) cover

MR. HANDS

Herbie Hancock

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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js (Easy Money)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Wow, it is hard to believe there was at least one good jazz fusion record released in 1980, but here it is. Like the music of many of the great progressive stars of the late 60s and early 70s, Herbie's music had been sliding downhill throughout the late 70s, becoming increasingly commercial and pointless as he slid from creative jazz-funk into dated disco fluff. Then out of nowhere in 1980, when many other early 70s icons had hit a creative rock bottom, Herbie came out swinging with one of his best and creative jazz funk records in years.

This album clearly draws on Herbie's early 70s output, but he modernizes things just a bit so that he isn't just re-treading the same old ground. The best track on the album, Shiftless Shuffle, features Herbie's original 1973 Headhunters as they play blistering ultra polyrhythmic jazz funk in a style that only they can play. The song Just Around the Corner is more in Hancock's mid 70s funk style, possibly a slightly more commercial style, but the music is still open enough for Herbie and the other soloists to really go off. Most of the rest of the album features Hancock's mid 70s futuristic space lounge jazz, which he updates with a little bit of 80s technology. The back of the album proudly lists a Modified Apple II microcomputer as one of it's instruments, we were certainly into our technology during the dawning of the 'new wave' decade.

Herbie enlists an all star cast on this album, including Jaco Pastorius on one cut who seems to have a real intuitive connection with our star pianist. Everybody seems to be having a great time shaking off their disco shackles and they all easily ignore the insecurity that plagued so many older creative geniuses as the new decade put pressure on them to change. Herbie himself plays with a percussive aggression and mature authority that hadn't been heard from him in a long long time.

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Send comments to js (Easy Money) (BETA) | Report this review (#186629)
Posted Tuesday, October 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It ..route of Funk.. goes forward further in the age ..Herbie in the 80's... He deeply pursues music lacing a revolution further and an acoustic route since V.S.O. P. After he has them establish the route of Funk, an advanced road might be a little like to the road of Chick Corea advanced by another concept. The musician like them always catches the age though demonstrating the sensibility to music is different respectively. Tunes that existed (It might be common also to various musicians) the tune thought to be heightening sensitivity of Herbie since V.S.O. P further and not suitable for his concept among Trio and Solo Album and were not able to be collected to the album gathered and this album was completed. However, the tune that was unpublished at that time of the period is not tinpot music at all. Herbie actually gives the overdubbing for producing this album and blows in a new sensibility. He says that he will prepare the tune more than the tune collected by the process of the production of the album. It doesn't limit to him, the idea is developed always considering it, and the musician who executes it has zeal and considerable advancement. I think that it is evidence that his antenna also catches the electric wave in the age.

After Herbie had established the route of Funk, his fan might have limited his favorite time further. However, Herbie is Herbie. It is evidence of the advancement that he begins to spin. This time was time when originality had been exploded further because of the route of Funk. This album is located between works such as "Trio 81" or "Magic Windows" that compete again with "Monster", Tony announced in 1980, and Ron. I might feel the tune collected to this album the element of Out Take is strong. However, the listener and the fan might be fascinated with the charm of this album by contraries , considering his music character at the quality and this time of the musician and the tune to participate in the recording.

#Spiraling Prism The anacatesthesia has already drifted from a voluminous opening. And, a melody to feel space on the way and generous progress invite us to the world of Herbie with the tension with comfortable level that is the end.

#Calypso It is a tune to which Herbie is guessed that Herbie covered Tony, Ron, and formed Trio back with the synthesizer. And, Sheila.E participates suitably to the tune of Calypso as a percussion player. The recording and the arrangement have succeeded though Herbie doesn't perform the synthesizer so much. The impression with a comfortable progress of the minor code is given to us.

#Just Around The Corner Perhaps, this tune is guessed to be a tune that arose in the process of the production of "Monster". The listener can listen to this tune by pulling out power. And, the condition of the tune gives the element modulates and in usual Funk without on the way.

#4 AM Jaco performs Bass in this tune. Jaco participated only in one by "Sunlight". And, it is guessed that it is Out Take that appeared within that time frame. Height of arrangement and tension in which space is felt. Breath by the musician unites and and it is ..considerably high-quality tune.. finished. Breath of Herbie and Jaco is good each other. And, Jaco answers the creation of Herbie well.

#Shiftless Shuffle This tune that was to have been put in "Headhunters" is collected to "Direct Step". The drum was Alphonse Mouzon in the EP. However, because it is a tune at the time of "Headhunters", Hervey Mason plays the drum. Anyway, each of one musician becomes and it shifts from the rhythm to a straight rhythm to shuffle. The drum explodes gradually. And, the performance that Paul Jackson adheres to the rhythm is wonderful.

#Textures It is a new song at this time made again for this album. He is working on this tune only by one person. It is a tune that his sensibility and talent are satisfactorily shown by the tune where the anacatesthesia drifts. This tune to feel nature slowly gives the listener the relief and the relaxation.

He provides after the 1980's with a state-of-the-art further sensibility and prepares for the activity of music. I think that this album is an interesting work including the mind of the play that was born in the process of not a simple album but his evolution.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#221351)
Posted Monday, June 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After long list of first pop-funk, after - disco-funk recordings, Hancock returned back to more jazzy music (with a help of huge list of great jazz and fusion musicians).

You can feel his jazz-funk roots there, but all music is better polished, balanced. There are no more his funky rhythmic constructions and sharp corners, but more contemporary-jazz oriented sound. And if slight feel of more commercial oriented sound is everywhere, it is a great music again. Deep bass line ( Rony Carter, Jaco Pastorius participated in one song), excellent drums and percussion (Alphonse Mouzon and Tony Williams between others), complex sound and accessible music in total.

One of rare perfect examples of jazz fusion from 80-s. Much more later another jazz fusion hero from early eighties Billy Cobham will turn to similar sound as well!

Recommended to all jazz fusion lovers as one of the best fusion album from 80-s!

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#256006)
Posted Monday, December 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
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Prog Metal Team
2 stars After the previous experiments with soul and disco, Hancock returned to more traditional jazz-funk playing. A relief for many listeners, but at the same time the music presented here is so tame and safe that it is totally off-putting. On the bright side it's a very diverse album with good musicianship.

The opener is one of the better pieces. A repetitive bass pulse that somehow reminds me of Tangerine Dream's Invisible Limits from Stratosfear provides a dreamy background for soft synth, piano and sax noodling. The sound is still very similar to Hancock's earlier 'Head Hunter's' albums and agreeably natural.

Calypso is a very traditional jazz piece with Latin flavors. The cocktail party breeze that blows through it doesn't please me at all, but it's not bad as such. The disco-funk pop of Just Around the Corner comes closest to Hancock's previous two albums and is totally forgettable. Fans of the style might enjoy Hancock's piano solo in the middle.

4 AM and the closing Textures is shameless jazz-muzak. Harmless easy listening pleasure for airports and elevators. Not for my living room thanks. Inbetween sits a bit of syncopated funk called Shiftless Shuffle that mixes the virtuoso funk of Hancock's Thurst with rather standard jazz piano soloing.

Two good tracks amidst a whole lot of very innocent wallpaper jazz. I can't read more then 2 stars into it but then I have a big bias towards unsafe music of course. Anyways, approach with care if you hope to find the quality of the Mwandishi or Headhunters period.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#309023)
Posted Tuesday, November 09, 2010 | Review Permalink

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