Todays Artist is for the 7th and last time an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor. Starting his career with Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet where he helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. Having studied engineering and professing to love gadgets and buttons, Hancock was perfectly suited for the electronic age; he was one of the earliest champions of the Rhodes electric piano and Hohner clavinet, and would field an ever-growing collection of synthesizers and computers on his electric dates. Yet his love for the grand piano never waned, and despite his peripatetic activities all over the musical map, his piano style continued to evolve into tougher, ever more complex forms. He is as much at home trading riffs with a smoking funk band as he is communing with a world-class post-bop rhythm section -- and that drives purists on both sides of the fence up the wall. Ultimately his music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieve success among pop audiences. ........ N'joy
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Hancock was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Winnie Belle (Griffin), a secretary, and Wayman Edward Hancock, a government meat inspector. His parents named him after the singer and actor Herb Jeffries. He attended the Hyde Park Academy. Like many jazz pianists, Hancock started with a classical music education. He studied from age seven, and his talent was recognized early. Considered a child prodigy, he played the first movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 26 in D Major, K. 537 (Coronation) at a young people's concert on February 5, 1952, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (led by CSO assistant conductor George Schick) at the age of 11. Through his teens, Hancock never had a jazz teacher, but developed his ear and sense of harmony. He was also influenced by records of the vocal group the Hi-Lo's.
In 1960, he heard Chris Anderson play just once, and begged him to accept him as a student. Hancock often mentions Anderson as his harmonic guru. Hancock left Grinnell College, moved to Chicago and began working with Donald Byrd and Coleman Hawkins, during which period he also took courses at Roosevelt University (he later graduated from Grinnell with degrees in electrical engineering and music. Grinnell also awarded him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1972). Byrd was attending the Manhattan School of Music in New York at the time and suggested that Hancock study composition with Vittorio Giannini, which he did for a short time in 1960. The pianist quickly earned a reputation, and played subsequent sessions with Oliver Nelson and Phil Woods. He recorded his first solo album Takin' Off for Blue Note Records in 1962. "Watermelon Man" (from Takin' Off) was to provide Mongo Santamaría with a hit single, but more importantly for Hancock, Takin' Off caught the attention of Miles Davis, who was at that time assembling a new band. Hancock was introduced to Davis by the young drummer Tony Williams, a member of the new band.
Hancock received considerable attention when, in May 1963, he joined Davis's Second Great Quintet. Davis personally sought out Hancock, whom he saw as one of the most promising talents in jazz. The rhythm section Davis organized was young but effective, comprising bassist Ron Carter, 17-year-old drummer Williams, and Hancock on piano. After George Coleman and Sam Rivers each took a turn at the saxophone spot, the quintet gelled with Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone. This quintet is often regarded as one of the finest jazz ensembles as of yet.
The second great quintet was where Hancock found his own voice as a pianist. Not only did he find new ways to use common chords, but he also popularized chords that had not previously been used in jazz. Hancock also developed a unique taste for "orchestral" accompaniment – using quartal harmony and Debussy-like harmonies, with stark contrasts then unheard of in jazz. With Williams and Carter he wove a labyrinth of rhythmic intricacy on, around and over existing melodic and chordal schemes. In the latter half of the 1960s their approach became so sophisticated and unorthodox that conventional chord changes would hardly be discernible; hence their improvisational concept would become known as "Time, No Changes".
While in Davis's band, Hancock also found time to record dozens of sessions for the Blue Note label, both under his own name and as a sideman with other musicians such as Shorter, Williams, Grant Green, Bobby Hutcherson, Rivers, Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard.
His albums Empyrean Isles (1964) and Maiden Voyage (1965) were to be two of the most famous and influential jazz LPs of the 1960s, winning praise for both their innovation and accessibility (the latter demonstrated by the subsequent enormous popularity of the Maiden Voyage title track as a jazz standard, and by the jazz rap group US3 having a hit single with "Cantaloop" (derived from "Cantaloupe Island" on Empyrean Isles) some twenty nine years later). Empyrean Isles featured the Davis rhythm section of Hancock, Carter and Williams with the addition of Hubbard on cornet, while Maiden Voyage also added former Davis saxophonist Coleman (with Hubbard remaining on trumpet). Both albums are regarded as among the principal foundations of the post-bop style. Hancock also recorded several less-well-known but still critically acclaimed albums with larger ensembles – My Point of View (1963), Speak Like a Child (1968) and The Prisoner (1969) featured flugelhorn, alto flute and bass trombone. 1963's Inventions and Dimensions was an album of almost entirely improvised music, teaming Hancock with bassist Paul Chambers and two Latin percussionists, Willie Bobo and Osvaldo "Chihuahua" Martinez.
During this period, Hancock also composed the score to Michelangelo Antonioni's film Blowup (1966), the first of many film soundtracks he recorded in his career. As well as feature film soundtracks, Hancock recorded a number of musical themes used on American television commercials for such then well known products as Pillsbury's Space Food Sticks, Standard Oil, Tab diet cola and Virginia Slims cigarettes. Hancock also wrote, arranged and conducted a spy type theme for a series of F. William Free commercials for Silva Thins cigarettes. Hancock liked it so much he wished to record it as a song but the ad agency would not let him. He rewrote the harmony, tempo and tone and recorded the piece as the track "He Who Lives in Fear" from his The Prisoner album of 1969.
Davis had begun incorporating elements of rock and popular music into his recordings by the end of Hancock's tenure with the band. Despite some initial reluctance, Hancock began doubling on electric keyboards including the Fender Rhodes electric piano at Davis's insistence. Hancock adapted quickly to the new instruments, which proved to be important in his future artistic endeavors.
Under the pretext that he had returned late from a honeymoon in Brazil, Hancock was dismissed from Davis's band. In the summer of 1968 Hancock formed his own sextet. However, although Davis soon disbanded his quintet to search for a new sound, Hancock, despite his departure from the working band, continued to appear on Davis records for the next few years. Appearances included In a Silent Way, A Tribute to Jack Johnson and On the Corner.
Hancock left Blue Note in 1969, signing with Warner Bros. Records. In 1969, Hancock composed the soundtrack for Bill Cosby's animated prime-time television special Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Fat Albert. Music from the soundtrack was later included on Fat Albert Rotunda (1969), an R&B-inspired album with strong jazz overtones. One of the jazzier songs on the record, the moody ballad "Tell Me a Bedtime Story", was later re-worked as a more electronic sounding song for the Quincy Jones album Sounds...and Stuff Like That!! (1978).
Hancock became fascinated with accumulating musical gadgets and toys. Together with the profound influence of Davis's Bitches Brew (1970), this fascination would culminate in a series of albums, in which electronic instruments are coupled with acoustic instruments. Hancock's first ventures into electronic music started with a sextet comprising Hancock, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart, and a trio of horn players: Eddie Henderson (trumpet), Julian Priester (trombone), and multireedist Bennie Maupin. Patrick Gleeson was eventually added to the mix to play and program the synthesizers.
The sextet, later a septet with the addition of Gleeson, made three albums under Hancock's name: Mwandishi (1971), Crossings (1972), and Sextant (1973) ; two more, Realization and Inside Out, were recorded under Henderson's name with essentially the same personnel. The music exhibited strong improvisational aspect beyond the confines of jazz mainstream and showed influence from the electronic music of contemporary classical composers.
Synthesizer player Gleeson introduced the instrument on Crossings, released in 1972, one of a handful of influential electronic jazz/fusion recordings to feature synthesizer that year. On Crossings (as well as on Weather Report's I Sing the Body Electric), the synthesizer is used more as an improvisatory global orchestration device than as a strictly melodic instrument. An early review of Crossings in Downbeat magazine complained about the synthesizer, but a few years later the magazine noted in a cover story on Gleeson that he was "a pioneer" in the field of electronics in jazz. In the albums following The Crossings, Hancock started to play synth himself, with synth taking on a melodic role.
Hancock's three records released in 1971–73 later became known as the "Mwandishi" albums, so-called after a Swahili name Hancock sometimes used during this era (Mwandishi is Swahili for writer). The first two, including Fat Albert Rotunda were made available on the 2-CD set Mwandishi: the Complete Warner Bros. Recordings, released in 1994. Of the three electronic albums, Sextant is probably the most experimental since the ARP synthesizers are used extensively, and some advanced improvisation ("post-modal free impressionism") is found on the tracks "Hornets" and "Hidden Shadows" (which is in the meter 19/4). "Hornets" was later revised on the 2001 album Future2Future as "Virtual Hornets".
After the sometimes "airy" and decidedly experimental "Mwandishi" albums, Hancock was eager to perform more "earthy" and "funky" music. The Mwandishi albums – though later seen as respected early fusion recordings – had seen mixed reviews and poor sales, so it is probable that Hancock was motivated by financial concerns as well as artistic restlessness. Hancock was also bothered by the fact that many people did not understand avant-garde music. He explained that he loved funk music, especially Sly Stone's music, so he wanted to try to make funk himself.
He gathered a new band, which he called The Headhunters, keeping only Maupin from the sextet and adding bassist Paul Jackson, percussionist Bill Summers, and drummer Harvey Mason. The album Head Hunters, released in 1973, was a major hit and crossed over to pop audiences, though it prompted criticism from some jazz fans. Head Hunters still sounds fresh and vital three decades after its initial release, and its genre-bending proved vastly influential on not only jazz, but funk, soul, and hip-hop.
Drummer Mason was replaced by Mike Clark, and the band released a second album, Thrust, the following year, 1974. (A live album from a Japan performance, consisting of compositions from those first two Head Hunters releases was released in 1975 as Flood.) This was almost as well received as its predecessor, if not attaining the same level of commercial success. The Headhunters made another successful album called Survival of the Fittest in 1975 without Hancock, while Hancock himself started to make even more commercial albums, often featuring members of the band, but no longer billed as The Headhunters. The Headhunters reunited with Hancock in 1998 for Return of the Headhunters, and a version of the band (featuring Jackson and Clark) continues to play and record.
In 1973, Hancock composed his soundtrack to the controversial film The Spook Who Sat by the Door. Then in 1974, he composed the soundtrack to the first Death Wish film. One of his memorable songs, "Joanna's Theme", was re-recorded in 1997 on his duet album with Shorter, 1 + 1. Hancock's next jazz-funk albums of the 1970s were Man-Child (1975), and Secrets (1976), which point toward the more commercial direction Hancock would take over the next decade. These albums feature the members of the Headhunters band, but also a variety of other musicians in important roles.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hancock toured with his V.S.O.P. quintet, which featured all the members of the 1960s Davis quintet except Davis, who was replaced by trumpeter Hubbard. There was constant speculation that Davis would reunite with his classic band, but he never did. VSOP recorded several live albums in the late 1970s, including The Quintet (1977).
In 1978, Hancock recorded a duet with Chick Corea, who had replaced him in the Davis band a decade earlier. Hancock also released a solo acoustic piano album, The Piano (1979), which was released only in Japan. (It was released in the US in 2004.) Other Japan-only albums include Dedication (1974), V.S.O.P.'s Tempest in the Colosseum (1977), and Direct Step (1978). VSOP: Live Under the Sky was a VSOP album remastered for the US in 2004 and included a second concert from the tour in July 1979.
From 1978 to 1982, Hancock recorded many albums of jazz-inflected disco and pop music, beginning with Sunlight (featuring guest musicians including Williams and Pastorius on the last track) (1978). Singing through a vocoder, he earned a British hit, "I Thought It Was You", although critics were unimpressed. This led to more vocoder on his next album, Feets, Don't Fail Me Now (1979), which gave him another UK hit in "You Bet Your Love".
Albums such as Monster (1980), Magic Windows (1981), and Lite Me Up (1982) were some of Hancock's most criticized albums. Hancock himself had quite a limited role in some of those albums, leaving singing, composing, and even producing to others. Mr. Hands (1980) is perhaps the one album during this period that was critically acclaimed.There were no vocals on the album, and one track featured Jaco Pastorius on bass. The album contained a variety of styles, including a disco instrumental, a Latin-jazz number, and an electronic piece in which Hancock played alone with the help of computers.
Hancock toured with Williams and Carter in 1981, recording Herbie Hancock Trio, a five-track live album released only in Japan. A month later, he recorded Quartet with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, released in the US the following year. Hancock, Williams, and Carter toured internationally with Wynton Marsalis and his brother, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, in what was known as "VSOP II". This quintet can be heard on Wynton Marsalis's debut album on Columbia (1981). In 1984 VSOP II performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival as a sextet with Hancock, Williams, Carter, the Marsalis Brothers, and Bobby McFerrin.
In 1983, Hancock had a pop hit with the Grammy-award-winning single "Rockit" from the album Future Shock. It was the first jazz hip-hop song and became a worldwide anthem for breakdancers and for hip-hop in the 1980s. It was the first mainstream single to feature scratching, and also featured an innovative animated music video, which was directed by Godley and Creme and showed several robot-like artworks by Jim Whiting. The video was a hit on MTV and reached No. 8 in the UK. The video won in five categories at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards. This single ushered in a collaboration with noted bassist and producer Bill Laswell. Hancock experimented with electronic music on a string of three LPs produced by Laswell: Future Shock (1983), the Grammy Award-winning Sound-System (1984), and Perfect Machine (1988).
During this period, he appeared onstage at the Grammy Awards with Stevie Wonder, Howard Jones, and Thomas Dolby, in a synthesizer jam. Lesser known works from the 1980s are the live album Jazz Africa (1987) and the studio album Village Life (1984), which were recorded with Gambian kora player Foday Musa Suso. Also, in 1985 Hancock performed as a guest on the album So Red the Rose (1985) by the Duran Duran spinoff group Arcadia. He also provided introductory and closing comments for the PBS rebroadcast in the United States of the BBC educational series from the mid-1980s, Rockschool (not to be confused with the most recent Gene Simmons' Rock School series).
In 1986 Hancock performed and acted in the film 'Round Midnight. He also wrote the score/soundtrack, for which he won an Academy Award for Original Music Score. His film work was prolific during the 1980s, and included the scores to A Soldier's Story (1984), Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986), Action Jackson (1988, with Michael Kamen), Colors (1988), and the Eddie Murphy comedy Harlem Nights (1989). Often he would also write music for TV commercials. "Maiden Voyage", in fact, started out as a cologne advertisement. At the end of the Perfect Machine tour, Hancock decided to leave Columbia Records after a 15-plus-year relationship.
After a break following his leaving of Columbia, Hancock, together with Carter, Williams, Shorter, and Davis admirer Wallace Roney, recorded A Tribute to Miles, which was released in 1994. The album contained two live recordings and studio recording songs, with Roney playing Davis's part as trumpet player. The album won a Grammy for best group album. Hancock also toured with Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and Pat Metheny in 1990 on their Parallel Realities tour, which included a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July 1990, and scored the 1991 comedy film Livin' Large, which starred Terrence C. Carson.
Hancock's next album, Dis Is da Drum, released in 1994, saw him return to acid jazz. Also in 1994, he appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. The album, meant to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African-American community, was heralded as "Album of the Year" by Time Magazine. 1995's The New Standard found Hancock and an all-star band including John Scofield, DeJohnette and Michael Brecker, interpreting pop songs by Nirvana, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, Prince, Peter Gabriel and others. A 1997 duet album with Shorter, entitled 1 + 1, was successful; the song "Aung San Suu Kyi" winning the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition. Hancock also achieved great success in 1998 with his album Gershwin's World, which featured readings of George and Ira Gershwin standards by Hancock and a plethora of guest stars, including Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Shorter. Hancock toured the world in support of Gershwin's World with a sextet that featured Cyro Baptista, Terri Lynne Carrington, Ira Coleman, Eli Degibri and Eddie Henderson.
In 2001 Hancock recorded Future2Future, which reunited Hancock with Laswell and featured doses of electronica as well as turntablist Rob Swift of The X-Ecutioners. Hancock later toured with the band, and released a concert DVD with a different lineup, which also included the "Rockit" music video. Also in 2001 Hancock partnered with Brecker and Roy Hargrove to record a live concert album saluting Davis and John Coltrane, entitled Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall, recorded live in Toronto. The threesome toured to support the album, and toured on-and-off through 2005.
The year 2005 saw the release of a duet album called Possibilities. It featured duets with Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Sting and others. In 2006 Possibilities was nominated for Grammy Awards in two categories: "A Song for You" (featuring Aguilera) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, and "Gelo No Montanha" (featuring Trey Anastasio on guitar) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Performance, although neither nomination resulted in an award. Also in 2005 Hancock toured Europe with a new quartet that included Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke, and explored textures ranging from ambient to straight jazz to African music.
Hancock, a longtime associate and friend of Mitchell, released a 2007 album, River: The Joni Letters, that paid tribute to her work, with Norah Jones and Tina Turner, adding vocals to the album, as did Corinne Bailey Rae. Leonard Cohen contributed a spoken piece set to Hancock's piano. Mitchell herself also made an appearance. The album was released on September 25, 2007, simultaneously with the release of Mitchell's newest album at that time: Shine. River won the 2008 Album of the Year Grammy Award. The album also won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and the song "Both Sides Now" was nominated for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo. That was only the second time in history that a jazz album had both those Grammys.
On January 18, 2009, Hancock performed at the We Are One concert, marking the start of inaugural celebrations for American President Barack Obama. Hancock also performed Rhapsody in Blue at the 2009 Classical BRIT Awards with classical pianist Lang Lang. Hancock was named as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's creative chair for jazz for 2010–12. In June 2010 Hancock released The Imagine Project. In 2013 Hancock joined the University of California, Los Angeles faculty as a professor in the UCLA music department where he will teach jazz music. On December 8, 2013 he was given the Kennedy Center Honors Award for achievement in the performing arts with artists like Snoop Dogg and Mixmaster Mike from the Beastie Boys performing his music.
Hancock is the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. Holders of the chair deliver a series of six lectures on poetry, "The Norton Lectures", poetry being "interpreted in the broadest sense, including all poetic expression in language, music, or fine arts." Previous Norton lecturers include musicians Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky and John Cage. Hancock's theme is "The Ethics of Jazz."
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One of Herbie Hancock's greatest attributes is his ability to take a contemporary form of music and add his own unique perspective through his recordings. Future 2 Future is no exception to the rule. Teaming with Bill Laswell, Hancock recruits some of the most forward-thinking musicians in music for Future 2 Future. The contributions of electronic music pioneer Carl Craig, vocal diva Chaka Khan, drum'n'bass producer A Guy Called Gerald, as well as jazz legends Jack DeJohnette and Wayne Shorter make the album feel like a cross between modern electronica and world music. While a lineup with such immense talent promises the delivery of a powerhouse record, the finished product only delivers the goods moderately. Several pieces produced for the album were almost completed before Hancock contributed keyboards. This production method leaves the record lacking the spontaneity and continuity that grace several of his early electronic-based records and tenure with the Headhunters, to the point of relegating Hancock to the status of session musician on some songs and leaving the listener to wonder what Future 2 Future could have been if a greater sense of creative collaboration /improvisation between Hancock and this all-star cast would have ensued. While this record is most definitely not an album for jazz purists, those with an ear for modern electronic music will find Future 2 Future an enjoyable exercise in watching one of the greats in jazz music redefine himself with the times once again.
Herbie Hancock - Future2Future (flac 408mb)
01 Kebero Part I 3:10
02 Wisdom 0:33
03 The Essence 4:54
04 This Is Rob Swift 6:55
05 Black Gravity 5:29
06 Tony Williams 6:08
07 Be Still 5:11
08 Ionosphere 3:59
09 Kebero Part II 4:47
10 Alphabeta 5:29
11 Virtual Hornets 8:50
Herbie Hancock - Future2Future (ogg 145mb)
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Possibilities is a Herbie Hancock adventure record. This ten-cut smorgasbord features the ever restless pianist, composer, and arranger in the company of literally dozens of artists, from pop singers like Christina Aguilera, Sting, and Annie Lennox to rock legends such as Santana and Paul Simon to relative newcomers like John Mayer, Jonny Lang, and Joss Stone, as well as some renowned international performers, such as Angélique Kidjo and Raul Midón in a wide range of songs, styles, and moods. Hancock cut the record in studios all over the world, all the collaborations were done face to face, not long distance. Session musicians here include everyone from Stevie Wonder (who plays the harmonica solo on the cover of his tune "I Just Called to Say I Love You"), to Santana to Cyro Baptista, Willie Weeks, John Pattitucci, Steven Jordan, and Gina Gershon (the actress)! The standout cuts are the sensual read of Leon Russell's "A Song for You," sung by Aguilera, Simon's jazzed-up revisioning of his "I Do It for Your Love," and Lennox's read of "Hush, Hush, Hush," written by Paula Cole (whatever happened to her?). Jazz fans may be disappointed, but pop fans will be delighted; there is a lot here to like.
Herbie Hancock - Possibilities (flac 334mb)
01 Stitched Up (feat John Mayer) 5:28
02 Safiatou (feat Santana And Angélique Kidjo) 5:25
03 A Song For You (feat Christina Aguilera) 7:05
04 I Do It For Your Love (feat Paul Simon) 5:58
05 Hush, Hush, Hush (feat Annie Lennox) 4:46
06 Sister Moon (feat Sting) 6:54
07 When Love Comes To Town (feat Jonny Lang And Joss Stone) 8:41
08 Don't Explain (feat Damien Rice And Lisa Hannigan) 4:53
09 I Just Called To Say I Love You (feat Raul Midón) 5:27
10 Gelo Na Montanha - 1st Movement (feat Trey Anastasio) 3:50
.Herbie Hancock - Possibilities (ogg 129mb)
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When Herbie Hancock released Possibilities (2005), a collaborative effort that paired the great pianist and composer with a group of pop and rock stocks from the world over, it was obvious the restless master was entering a new phase of his long career. In that context, River: The Joni Letters makes perfect sense. Hancock and his fine band -- Lionel Loueke (guitar), Wayne Shorter (soprano and tenor saxophones), Dave Holland (bass), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums) -- prepare a series of instrumentals and vocal interpretations of the songs of Joni Mitchell. The vocalists here include those who were inspired by Mitchell, namely Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Mitchell herself on one number (her own recording, Shine, was released on the same day), and some of her peers in the pop world, including Tina Turner and Leonard Cohen. Cohen's connection to the songwriter is direct in that they are both Canadians and both came up playing clubs and venues in the then new "folk" scene.
This is a jazz record with vocals. The album's ten tracks are, for the most part, programmed for a vocal tune, followed by an instrumental. This holds true with only one exception in that the disc's first two songs are vocals. First there's the lovely, spooky, smoky "Court and Spark," sung by Jones, followed immediately by the ethereal yet from-the-gut version of "Edith and the Kingpin," sung by Turner For jazz fans, this is a wonderful new chapter, a new way to hear him (and Shorter). This CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Album, Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and Hancock's improvisation on "Both Sides Now" was also nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo.
Herbie Hancock - River, The Joni Letters (flac 368mb)
01 Court And Spark feat Norah Jones 7:35
02 Edith And The Kingpin feat Tina Turner 6:32
03 Both Sides Now (Instrumental) 7:38
04 River feat Corinne Bailey Rae 5:25
05 Sweet Bird (Instrumental) 8:15
06 Tea Leaf Prophecy feat Joni Mitchell 6:34
07 Solitude (Instrumental) 5:42
08 Amelia feat Luciana Souza 7:26
09 Nefertiti (Instrumental) 7:30
10 The Jungle Line feat Leonard Cohen 5:01
Herbie Hancock - River, The Joni Letters (ogg 146mb )
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Herbie Hancock's star-studded The Imagine Project was several years in the making, recorded in seven countries with musicians from all over the globe. Hancock's band with producer/bassist Larry Klein, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, percussionist Alex Acuña, and guitarist Lionel Loueke is a common denominator. Much of what's here is interpretations of well-known pop, folk, and soul songs. That said, The Imagine Project (named for the John Lennon song) feels more like an overreach than a seamless or successful series of collaborations.
The best things are indeed fine. There's a gorgeous reading of Baden Powell's “Tempo de Amore,” thanks to Lucas Martins’ bassline and CéU's singing. “Space Captain” by the Derek Trucks-Susan Tedeschi Band -- with Hancock and Colaiuta -- brings out a much-needed soulful grit to Tedeschi’s vocals, gospelized four-party harmony, and Trucks' tough slide playing. Bob Dylan's “The Times They Are a Changin'," with Lisa Hannigan's raw, emotive vocals, is underscored by interplay between the Chieftains, Toumani Diabaté's kora, and Hancock's piano. The tune moves past its American folk revival beginnings to reflect a global sentiment. “Tamatant Tilay”/”Exodus” pairs the nomad Malian guitar band Tinariwen’s song with Bob Marley's classic. K’NAAN, Tinariwen, and three members of Los Lobos are all featured on vocals. Tinariwen dominates with Hancock’s funky clavinet pushing against their snaky wall of guitars and ululating singing; it's the hippest track here. Klein’s “The Song Goes On,” features Anoushka Shankar, Wayne Shorter, Chaka Khan, and K.S. Chithra with some lyrics translated into Hindi. A full-on Indian session band interacts with Shorter’s knotty soprano sax, and the only truly engaged Hancock piano playing on the set is here. Then there's the rest: “Imagine"'s intro features overwrought singing by Pink and Seal, but turns itself into a Caribbean-flavored tune with India.Arie and her tasteful understatement. Konono No. 1's driving likembe break has Oumou Sangare's vocal accompaniment adding depth to save it. Peter Gabriel's “Don’t Give Up,” a duet between Pink and John Legend, reeks of overproduction; Legend's singing mimics Gabriel’s; Pink's dry acrobatics are hollow. Dave Matthews is a poor choice as a lead vocalist on the Beatles' “Tomorrow Never Knows.” His voice is unexpressive and doesn’t match the musical drama created by drummer Matt Chamberlain, and Danny Barnes and Michael Claves on psychedelicized banjos and guitars. This mixed bag of a record feels like a deliberate grab at Record of the Year Grammy, but it's too uneven. Hancock has taken many risks in his career, but this doesn’t feel like one of them.
Herbie Hancock - The Imagine Project (flac 428mb)
01 Imagine 7:18
02 Don't Give Up 7:27
03 Tempo De Amor 4:44
04 Space Captain 6:54
05 The Times, They Are A-Changin' 8:05
06 La Tierra 4:50
07 Tamatant Tilay/Exodus 4:45
08 Tomorrow Never Knows 5:22
09 A Change Is Gonna Come 8:46
10 The Song Goes On 7:49
. Herbie Hancock - The Imagine Project (ogg 156mb)
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