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Herbie Hancock - Sound-System CD (album) cover


Herbie Hancock


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.98 | 17 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Sound System was the follow-up to Herbie's ground-breaking Grammy award winning album Future Shock, an album that had put him back in the limelight with it's imaginative mix of early 80s Hip Hop, Techno and World Beat. Hip Hop was a far different thing in the early 80s up to the early 90s, positive, vibrant and polyrhythmic, it brought new life to many artists that would seek it's influence. On Sound System Herbie accents the African influence that was hinted at on Future Shock by featuring kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso who adds beautifully hypnotic melodies to three of this albums six tracks. The three tracks that feature Suso are wonderfully joyous celebrations of rhythm and melody that recall a nostalgic positive vibe that early Hip Hop brought to many urban neighborhoods in the states in the early to mid 80s. I saw Hancock at an outdoor concert during this time and he had a separate area near the stage set aside for young break dancers to come out of the crowd and show off their creative but amateur skills. The whole concert had a wonderful improvisatory carnival type feel to it.

The other three songs on this album include: Hard Rock, a funky hip hop number that mixes Herbie's techno verses with a Van Halen styled guitar chorus played by avant-rocker Henry Kaiser. Karaboli, a world beat jazz number that features Wayne Shorter on soprano sax, and People are Changing, a socially conscious RnB song with a killer groove that features Bernard Fowler on vocals. Fowler was the progressive soul singer of choice in the early 80s and often worked with creative musicians and producers such as Bill Laswell and Adrian Sherwood.

This album has a very 80s sound to it, a virtual death sentence in many cases, but not this time. I still enjoy this album as much now as I did back then. Despite it's trendy sound, Sound System still sounds fresh and creative, and reminds me of a very positive time in music in general.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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