Thursday, July 26, 2007

Herbie Hancock - 1971 - Mwandishi

"A live record consisting of three long compositions. The sidelong "Wandering Spirit Song" by Julian Priester is as aimless as you might think from the title; there are moments of beauty but not enough. The two Hancock compositions, though, are fantastic: "Ostinato (Suite For Julia)" grafts a down-home funky bass line onto a whimsical 15/4 rhythm, spurring the soloists to imaginative heights; "You'll Know When You Get There" is the kind of minimalist suspended-animation ballad Hancock pulled off so effortlessly in the 60s (notably on Empyrean Isles). The title is a Swahili name Hancock adopted during this period; the members of the Sextet each adopted a Swahili name: Mchezaji/Buster Williams (bass), Jabali/Billy Hart (drums), Mganga/Eddie Henderson (trumpet), Mwile/Benny Maupin (bass clarinet and alto flute), Pepo Mtoto/Julian Priester (trombone); Ndugu/Leon Chancler appears on percussion, and seems to be an honorary seventh member -- he went on to later success with the Dazz Band. (DBW)"