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THE VT » Boss

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Herbie Hancock is back, and he’s still got it.

Thursday, February 21st, 2008 || Boss

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So, Herbie Hancock’s latest album, River: The Joni Letters, was released a few months ago. However, as far as I’ve heard from the media, it hasn’t really generated much buzz until recently, after it got a few nominations for the grammys. I downloaded it after hearing it won album of the year, the first time a jazz album has done so in 43 years, and I wasn’t surprised to find out it fucking rocks.

Considering the last couple of things Herbie has released (i.e. Possibilities, a pretty pop-oriented collaboration piece), River is like going back to his glory days with Miles Davis’ second legendary quintet. Most of this album (songs like Nefertiti, Sweet Bird, and Solitude) is straight-up, unadulterated jazz. But that’s not to say his electric side that shined in the 70’s and 80’s isn’t present - just listen for the funky guitar in Edith and the Kingpin, and you might start remembering bits of Rockit or Chameleon.

The first track, “Court and Spark” (to remind you the album is a tribute to Joni Mitchell), is really the signature piece in my eyes. A soft melody on the piano starts it out, then the bass and rhythm kick in to bring it all together. And when Norah Jones starts singing, it gets you right into the mood of the whole album.

All in all, River is a definite must-listen-to for any fans of Herbie, and I would recommend it for anyone who likes music in general.