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Herbie Hancock - Future Shock CD (album) cover


Herbie Hancock


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.74 | 43 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars After a series of rather lackluster disco-funk records (with Mr Hands being an excellent exception), Herbie Hancock totally turned his career around with this brilliant mix of hip-hop, world beat, electro- boogie and jazzy RnB. To some, this record may seem like a cynical attempt to cash in on the new hip- hop fad, but Herbie didn't just 'phone this in'. Instead, this album is bursting with the good vibes that only happen when someone has gotten back in touch with their life affirming creativity.

Hip-hop was a far different thing in the early 80s. Still fresh and new, it's upbeat polyrhythms were rooted in Africa and Harlem and the genre was ripe for someone like Herbie to take it into a progressive and creative direction. Much of the credit on this album should also go to bassist, co- creator and producer Bill Laswell who catapulted himself from NYC's creative jazzy post-punk scene into super stardom with the massive success of this release. Likewise props should also go to Grand Mixer DST who brought the new skill of record scratching into high art and also adds creative avant- garde soundscapes to most of the tunes. This album could have been trendy fluff and easily forgotten, but Herbie, DST and Bill infuse the album with creative melodies and rhythms that helped insure it's place in history well beyond the early 80s.

The lead tune Rockit recalls Herbie's work on crime-jazz soundtracks with it's catchy Peter Gunn type melody. TFS is minimalist heaven with it's short punchy interlocking rhythms, possibly there is a bit of Kraftwerk influence on this number. Earth Beat is elegant and Asiatic while it hints at the more world beat direction Hancock's follow up album (Sound System) would take. Autodrive brings back the minimalist electro-funk of TFS and is equally infectious and also features a great jazz piano solo.

The only clunker on the album is Rough, with it's boring rhythm and numbing repeating vocals. Also, the 80s styled remake of Curtis Mayfield's Future Shock almost fails, but it is rescued by psychedelic jazz guitar guru Pete Cosey who turns in one of the weirdest and funniest solos of his career.

It's always fun to hear this album again as it brings back pleasant memories of when inner city neighborhoods had one last glimpse of sunshine before the dark cloud of crack-cocaine descended and crushed many lives and dreams.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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