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Herbie Hancock - The Imagine Project CD (album) cover


Herbie Hancock

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was really disappointed of new Hancock's direction he took in 2005 with his album "Possibilities". There were some more or less successful examples of releasing "star-duets" albums all around, still from Tom Jones well-known return to musical business many years ago. In early 00' this formula was intensively exploited once again (including two Santana's albums, etc). But usually I can't see no other reason of such releases, that to make some additional money using well-known name.

And disappointed Hancock's excurse to this field with his "Possibilities" only confirmed my expectations. "Letters..." continued that strategy, but at higher standard level. So, when I realised that third in line Hancock's album contains duets/collaborations again, I really was disappointed. How long could one explore same formula, even if it still smells as money?

So, now I am listening this brand new album, just one day after it's world release date, and I hear some great things and some bad things at the same time.

For any listener, searching for Hancock's experimental jazz-fusion of Mwandishi times, or energetic funky fusion from later 70-s,the new album should be avoided. This work is intelligent and tasteful collection of great songs, re-played and re-arranged by some really competent artists of our time. And the music there is mix of contemporary jazz, jazzy pop-songs and world fusion.

Then, if you're not afraid of genres as above, you will find there really quality music! Never too cheesy, very professional and never boring. Starting from the opener, great Lennon's "Imagine", where Pink and Seal voices are supported by Hancock's piano and Jeff Beck's guitar to become light and soulful jazzy piece, dedicated listener will enjoy this sunny, light sound filled with world music accents from very different cultures.

Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up" sounds interesting with Hancock's jazzy version, with very light atmospheric music and bluesy guitar in front. Pink's voice instead of Kate Bush's as in original is more strong and energetic, but for sure misses Kate's feline magic. John Legend's voice sounds often as Gabriel's at all.

On "Tempo Di Amor" Hancock collaborates with young Brazil jazz singer Ceu in excellent modern bossa-nova . "Space Captain" is a composition ,played by possibly brightest modern Southern jam-rock guitarist Derek Trucks with blues singer Susan Tedeschi (and Derek's wife) on vocals. Not very original, but pleasant to listen.

"The Times, They Are A-Changin' " is a composition with folksy roots, jazzy arrangements and some world music flavour. The Chieftains and young Irish modern folk singer Lisa Hannigan are on board for this composition this time. Hancock plays very jazzy piano - and the result is really good!

"La Tierra" is Latin jazz ballade, full of acoustic piano and Juanes (well known by his radio-plays of La Camisa Negra) on vocals."Tamatant Tilay/Exodus " is quite unusual combination of Los Lobos and Tuareg's African blues band Tinariwen. Tribal world jazzy blues?

"Tomorrow Never Knows" with Dave Matthews on guitar and vocals is really different from original version and sounds as Peter Gabriel's song with African rhythms. Jim Morrison's voice on "A Change Is Gonna Come" sounds as young Rod Stewart's, even all compositions is more in a vein of Van Morrison's early works.

The last album's song "The Song Goes On " with Wayne Shorter's sax, Anoushka Shankar on sitar and Chaka Chan's voice is really strong final!

No way album for jazz or jazz fusion purists, this work really has it's great moments for world fusion lovers (especially for those who not afraid in some melodic pop elements in music)

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Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2010 | Review Permalink

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