Monday, 1 June 2015

Herbie Hancock "Thrust" (1974)

Herbie Hancock is an American Jazz pianist from Chicago who has played alongside such legends as Miles Davis and Donald Byrd. His career of solo records started in the sixties with "Takin Off" at the age of twenty-one. He has since release over 50 albums across five decades. Along the way hes received critical acclaim for a handful of records. "Thrust" is not one of them, but simply the record that pulled me in and got me listening.

The opening track, "Palm Grease" is a laid back jam fest of perpetual funk bass grooves and spacey, outlandish jives that dance and play around the unfolding groove that moves its way through ten minutes of free flowing improvisational unraveling after a cow bell drum break in the beginning and mid section that I have heard sampled on a fair few older Hip Hop tracks. This opener shows a lot of funk flair, but the next three tracks elevate to a higher dimension as the funk grooves hammering on the bass play second string to the keys that take the helm with layered compositions of airy, organs like keys and layered synths as the drums get heavy on the ride symbol and flow into the Jazz improvisational style. "Butterfly" gets soulful with a strong, moving tenor sax lead from Bennie Maupin that graciously sees us in and out of a calmer number that amplified with Herbie's mid song leads climaxing with oozing synths.

Its an exciting listen for the newer elements I'm being exposed to, but it does often drift into the background a little as some of Herbie's leads worm around themselves without conclusion. Bennie's feature was the most congruent moment on the record, and despite the excitement of being new to the Funk-esq Jazz feel, I felt a lack of focus or direction left some gorgeous sounds, aesthetics and musical ideas drift into unconscious territory. Very enjoyable listening experience that will have me seeking out more Jazz-Funk.

Favorite Tracks: Actual Proof, Butterfly
Rating: 7/10