Sunday, August 23, 2015

Herbie Hancock - 1972 [2014] "Crossings"

Disc: 3
1972 "Crossings"

Crossings is the tenth album by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, released in 1972. It is the second album in his Mwandishi period, which saw him experimenting in electronics. Notably, the album is the band's first to feature their new member - synthesizer player Patrick Gleeson. He was originally only scheduled to "set up his Moog synthesiser for Hancock to play." However, Hancock was so impressed with Gleeson that he "asked Gleason[sic] not only to do the overdubs on the album but join the group.

With the frenzied knocking of what sounds like a clock shop gone berserk, Crossings takes the Herbie Hancock Sextet even further into the electric avant-garde, creating its own idiom. Now, however, the sextet has become a septet with the addition of Dr. Patrick Gleeson on Moog synthesizer, whose electronic decorations, pitchless and not, give the band an even spacier edge. Again, there are only three tracks -- the centerpiece being Hancock's multi-faceted, open-structured suite in five parts called "Sleeping Giant." Nearly 25 minutes long yet amazingly cohesive, "Sleeping Giant" gathers a lot of its strength from a series of funky grooves -- the most potent of which explodes at the tail-end of Part Two -- and Hancock's on-edge Fender Rhodes electric piano solos anticipate his funk adventures later in the '70s. Bennie Maupin's "Quasar" pushes the session into extraterrestrial territory, dominated by Gleeson's wild Moog effects and trumpeter Eddie Henderson's patented fluttering air trumpet. Even stranger is Maupin's "Water Torture," which saunters along freely with splashes of color from Hancock's spooky Mellotron and fuzz-wah-pedaled Fender Rhodes piano, Gleeson's electronics, and a quintet of voices. Still a challenging sonic experience, this music (which can be heard on Warners' Mwandishi two-CD set) has yet to find its audience, though the electronica-minded youth ought to find it dazzling.

Track listing:

1. Sleeping Giant (24:48)
2. Quasar (7:25)
3. Water Torture (13:54)

Total Time 46:21


Herbie Hancock - Piano, Electric Piano, Mellotron, Percussion
Eddie Henderson - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Percussion
Billy Hart - Drums, Percussion
Julian Priester - Bass, Tenor and Alto Trombone, Percussion
Buster Williams - Electric Bass, Bass, Percussion
Bennie Maupin - Soprano Saxophone, Alto Flute, Bass Clarinet, Piccolo, Percussion
Patrick Gleeson - Moog Synthesizer
Victor Pontoja - Congas
Voices - Candy Love, Sandra Stevens, Della Horne, Victoria Domagalski, Scott Breach


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