Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Herbie Hancock ''The Herbie Hancock Box'' Compilation Box Set


Herbie Hancock

''The Herbie Hancock Box'' Compilation Box Set

Andy's Note:
Here's my last box set post of this trip home,back to Australia next week.
However I will be back with more goodies soon.

Once again links in comments.

Box set, Original recording remastered
Label: Sony
Release date: (September 14, 2004)

Review by C. Andrew Hovan:
While some might disagree, arguably pianist Herbie Hancock’s most memorable performances on tape would have to include his own Blue Note sessions and sideman appearances with Miles Davis. That is not to say that he’s done nothing of significance since the ‘60s, but for sheer mainstream brilliance nothing really comes close to Maiden Voyage or such Miles albums as Miles Smiles and E.S.P. Now for the first time, Hancock’s post Blue Note/post Miles work is the subject of an intensive retrospective that spans 13 years and samples music from 23 different albums recorded during Hancock’s tenure with Columbia Records.

Probably the most sensationalistic aspect of The Herbie Hancock Box is in the presentation. Literally housed in a clear Plexiglas box, each of four discs slides into grooves along the box’s sides, as does the accompanying booklet. The box I received as a review copy was pretty well marked and scratched due to the fact that the discs and booklet had come from their tracks and looked like they had been tossed around in shipping. As such, it might be wise to carefully examine the box before purchase to make sure everything’s intact.

The entire first and second discs are devoted to acoustic material, much of it featuring the VSOP line-up of Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. A good many of the performances have only been available in Japanese issues over the years and their appearance here is of note. The only thing one has to wonder is how essential these versions of such old favorites as “Maiden Voyage,” “The Sorcerer,” “Dolphin Dance” and “Eye of the Hurricane” are when the original incarnations are still available and often superior. Considering that Hancock and crew were former students of Miles Davis and that the Prince of Darkness himself was creating music far from the mainstream manifesto during the same period, the retro feel that dominates seems at odds with the Master’s teachings.

Disc three kicks in with a flowering of electronics and commercial sensibilities, although “Rain Dance” (from Sextant ) is an odd bit of dated material that almost sounds like the accompanying soundtrack to an episode of The Outer Limits. Also showing its age just a bit, the main theme from Hancock’s soundtrack music for Death Wish somehow gets one’s attention and whets the appetite for more, like a reissue of the entire album. In a bit of irreverent splicing, the pots fade up for a blistering and satisfying take on “Actual Proof” from the live Japanese session Flood, another album that sinfully remains out-of-print.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, the remainder of disc three and about half of disc four features Hancock’s commercial pratfalls from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Banal vocals on “Come Running to Me” and “Stars in Your Eyes” don’t even come close to being attractive pop hooks and they sure don’t funk out like Sly, The Meters, or Maceo Parker. Like his fellow Columbia label mate Freddie Hubbard, Hancock was stretching for something different and more often than not he missed. The remainder of disc four somewhat makes up for things in that “Rockit” and “Karabali” testify to the redeeming nature of Bill Laswell’s production values and the sense that Hancock had finally found his voice again amidst his electronic battery.

In the end, The Herbie Hancock Box brings to light some rare sides, a previously unissued performance of “Red Clay,” and a thorough re-examination of Hancock in the throws of some changing times. Completists will find it all well worth their time and investment, but those with only a marginal interest in Hancock’s later works would probably do better by picking up Headhunters or Future Shock.


The Herbie Hancock Box [Columbia] Review:
Solo whizzes like Michael Manring and Rob Wasserman aside, the most inspirational bassists usually share sonic space with great drummers, guitarists, horn players, keyboardists, or orchestras, whose talent and artistry help push our heroes to even greater heights. This undeniable fact is why the recent release of The Herbie Hancock Box is cause for celebration. No contemporary jazz artist has so consistently embraced the progressive nature of the genre, cutting a wide swath through every musical development of the late 20th century, and in the process employing and inspiring several of the world’s best bassists. The collection’s four discs are organized around major periods of Hancock’s unpredictable musical evolution. Discs one and two focus on his late-’70s acoustic material, particularly his super group VSOP with Ron Carter on bass. VSOP picked up where Miles Davis’s groundbreaking mid-’60s quintet left off; urbane harmony, loose structure, and muscular improvisation are the band’s trademarks. Carter is flat-out incredible; his near-supernatural chops, potent tone, and incredible sensitivity set a standard rarely matched to this day. Disc three is Paul Jackson’s realm. As a member of the Headhunters, Jackson was the fingerstyle-funk man. The greasy, probing lines he poured forth are best described by Hancock in the liner notes: “Paul Jackson is a genius. He always blew my mind.” CD three also features a lone Jaco Pastorius track, 1980’s “4 a.m.” It’s classic Pastorius, with his usual jaw-dropping 16thnote funk and deftly integrated harmonics. Disc four explores Hancock’s controversial forays into R&B, disco, and hip-hop. The annoyingly catchy “Rockit,” with Bill Laswell on bass, is a highlight, as is “Maiden Voyage/P. Bop,” featuring the one and only Bootsy Collins.
By Jonathan Herrera

From Amazon (Review):
Since the 1960s, Herbie Hancock has been one of the major figures in contemporary jazz, even if his restless creative muse sometimes confounded his longtime trad-jazz followers at the same time it was winning him fans from other genres. The first half of this four-disc, 34-track career retrospective leans heavily on Hancock's musical foundations, as distilled through acoustic performances from the late '70s and early '80s (most of which have heretofore only been issued in Japan), many with his former Miles Davis Quintet sidemen-cum-jazz supergroup, V.S.O.P. (including Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Freddie Hubbard). Those performances (including the unissued Hubbard showcase "Red Clay") lay the groundwork the remainder of the anthology builds on, with Hancock's Fender Rhodes and synths surveying a rich landscape that spans a reinvented "Watermelon Man," the electro-funk workout "Chameleon," jazz-rock fusion, soul, world beat, and, of course, Hancock's most unlikely success, the 1983 hip-hop/industrial megahit "Rockit." Nods are also given to his intermittent film work, via the cool sophistication of his Death Wish title cut and his Academy Award-winning interpretation of Monk's "'Round Midnight." The packaging is nearly as innovative as Hancock's music: a transparent plastic cube with the discs and booklet (featuring insightful notes penned by Hancock himself) suspended within.
By Jerry McCulley

Listen/Buy on Amazon.

By Andy


Andy said...

JazzyPier said...

Hi Andy, one again a big thank for the great work here on MFS blogs!!!
You are a nice person & a good friend!
Hope you will be back soon here with your wonderful music! We standing here waiting...
Peace & Blessings man!

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