RELEASE
1997
LABEL
Verve
GENRES
Jazz

Album Review

This is a rather unusual tribute to Herbie Hancock on a couple different levels. There is no piano on the date, so obviously no one is heard trying to sound like Hancock; the intimate all-star trio (bassist Christian McBride, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and guitarist Mark Whitfield) avoids such typical Hancock hits as "Watermelon Man" and "Maiden Voyage," and several of the songs are real obscurities. The 14 Hancock compositions date from 1962-79, with one tune from 1985, so they do not cover his later output. Among the lesser-known tunes are the title track (first played by V.S.O.P.), "Sly" (from the Headhunters LP), and two melodies taken from the 1965 soundtrack of Blow-Up. Several of the songs (most notably "Driftin'") deserve to be revived more widely. Payton, whose versatility has in the past allowed him to emulate both Louis Armstrong and Freddie Hubbard with equal skill, here generally plays like himself, a Young Lion with a warm tone and an inventive style. Whitfield holds the group together, whether playing straight-ahead or adding a bit of funk to "Chameleon" and "Sly." McBride shows throughout why he is rightfully considered a young giant. Due to the many unfamiliar themes and offbeat instrumentation (which includes a duet apiece featuring each of the three possible combinations), this is a CD that takes a few listens to fully appreciate, but it is worth the effort. An underrated gem.
Scott Yanow, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Fingerpainting
  2. Driftin'
  3. Chameleon
  4. Tell Me a Bedtime Story
  5. Eye of the Hurricane
  6. The Kiss
  7. Speak Like a Child
  8. The Sorcerer
  9. Dolphin Dance
  10. Chan's Song
  11. One Finger Snap
  12. Sly
  13. Oliloqui Valley
  14. Jane's Theme
  15. The Sorcerer
  16. Dolphin Dance
  17. Chan's Song
  18. One Finger Snap
  19. Sly
  20. Oliloqui Valley
  21. Jane's Theme