I am a jazz pianist and Herbie Hancock is a personal favorite of mine, and he is certainly one of the most versatile musicians to ever come out of jazz. His music and his playing is anywhere from ridiculously funky to absolutely beautiful to out there and crazy. This album, from 1963, most closely follows the third option. One has to wonder where this session came from; Hancock had found his first hit with "Watermelon Man" and spent his second session trying to duplicate that success, albeit with mixed results. This third session for Blue Note sounds nothing like the first two or almost anything in the Blue Note catalogue at that time. Stripped down to trio plus auxiliary percussion with Paul Chambers on bass, Willie Bobo on drums, and Osvaldo Martinez on auxiliary percussion, the group explores Latin grooves in a very subtle way that I can only label "concept-based post-bop." There aren't really any written tunes ("Mimosa" was a set of chord changes and the other tunes are completely improvised) so sketches are built more off of fragments and ideas born in the studio. For example, one tune features the bass playing a pedal tone for four bars followed by Hancock's improvisation in that key for sixteen bars. The music, while abstract, is oddly infectious through the rhythmic approach. In addition, Hancock was working with fairly "inside" musicians, especially Chambers, a first call bop musician. As a result, though free, this music is fairly conservative. Whether or not this is a good thing is a matter of taste; it is controlled and in what many would call "good taste" but at the same time, sometimes that control inhibits the musicians from reaching the full potential of the wild and crazy things that *might* have been born. Thus, this was never able to reach the classic status of the great "out" sessions but it was also kept from descending into meaningless noise that happens when free jazz finds itself uninspired. Instead, it walks a middle path, a relatively safe (though still more adventurous than either of his prior two releases) "free" session which is very interesting, sometimes catchy, but not really a classic. I find it difficult to call any of this session to mind because there aren't memorable melodic moments; it's more about texture. I still enjoy this quite a bit, though, and anyone interested in Herbie Hancock would do well to check out this album to see the germ of his playing with Miles, or perhaps a road he chose not to take.