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Herbie Hancock - Mr. Hands CD (album) cover


Herbie Hancock


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.31 | 34 ratings

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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.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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