Head Hunters Import
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Top Customer Reviews
And it is the word `accesssible' that is the key to this - with is experiments in dissonance and complex meandering improvisations Miles Davis was almost challenging people to enjoy Bitches Brew, but Hancock throws open the door and invites you inside for a night of dancing. It's all clever stuff, but it is enjoyable music that gets your dancing feet going as well.
This release is the Columbia 1997 reissue. It has an excellent mastering, with a clear sound. The original album is here with no extras, which seems a little bit of a shame but there you go.
Where do you start with Chameleon? It is a staple of funk music, a tune that is known to people who have never listened to jazz in their life, arguably the most famous genre crossover piece in history. BUT, bizarrely, it's perhaps the weakest track on Head Hunters, simply because of the quality of the tunes that follow.
Watermelon Man, funked up from Hancock's Takin' Off (Blue Note, 1963) standard, is given a lazy, half time feel, and easily eclipses the original. Sly, is where the cool feel of the album is briefly broken for insanely energetic solos by Bennie Maupin and then Herbie. The album is finished off with Vein Melter- a deeply chilled out effort that recalls Crossings' (Warner Bros, 1971) Water Torture, and returns the album's tone back into the blue.
Head Hunters is not a perfect album(witness the drums and the bass disagreeing over tempo after the electric piano solo on Chameleon, or Vein Melter's dodgy synth strings), but I like to think that no other jazz-funk album, Hancock's or anyone elses, has ever surpassed it. It remains one of my favourite albums, and a great introduction to Herbie Hancock's funk music.
"Chameleon", the opening track, was immediately recognised as a major contribution to both the jazz canon and the dance canon. No riff in jazz had ever sounded as deep and thrusting as this. In spite of the widespread popularity of "Chameleon" and the legion of admirers who claim it's the greatest jazz funk track ever, the real masterpiece is "Watermelon Man".
It's mildly ironic that the best piece on the album should be one that Hancock had composed early in his career (it first appears on his first album as leader, Takin' Off, Blue Note, 1962). The 1973 version is virtually unrecognisable from the original - it retains only the blues-based progression, and Paul Jackson's detached bass figures wink distantly at Butch Warren's original blues bass line. The composition is constructed cautiously over a light ostinato pipe figure that builds up into a theme dominated by Hancock's Fender Rhodes, alternating between a staccato emphasis on the off-beat and a call-and-response dialogue between Hancock and Bennie Maupin that hovers in eerie suspension over the bass and drums.
Most significantly, the album introduces humour as a central element in the argument: jazz-funk could only be taken seriously as a genre when it mocked itself. Head Hunters drew simultaneously on Herbie Hancock's decade of playing with the jazz greats, the wah-wah sound of Jimi Hendrix's legacy, and the feverish dance sound of Sly Stone and George Clinton. And it did this with the supreme paradoxical humour of simultaneous detachment and involvement that only a master like Hancock could pull off.
This amazing and boundary busting album from the early 1970s does not disappoint on re hearing, indeed the sounds from Mr Hancock and co transported me back to a carefree summertime with the intensity that true nostalgia can bring.
The album is a jazz funk oriented blast that satisfies every one of my musical molecules; with just four tracks the music can explore and experiment without a trace of longeuse
It also represented the last truly innovative Hancock album. The follow-up, Thrust, was a carbon copy; ever after Hancock's albums were divided between bland, commercial product (Future Shock and its ilk), and explicit attempts to re-create his 1960s style (VSOP and the other acoustic albums) without ever moving on from it. Herbie is a great pianist but I feel that of all of Miles's surviving superstar ex-sidemen (Corea, McLaughlin, Shorter, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Keith Jarrett etc) he has been the least successful in really transcending the work he did with Miles.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a bit young for this kind of stuff and only really got into buying my own records in 1977. Anway, I grew up, and saw it in more sophisticated Houses than mine. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dan Smith
Yes just as I remembered this on LP way back .Excellent tracks try this.Published 5 months ago by Jed10