Herbie Hancock: The New Standard

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COMPOSERS: Herbie Hancock
WORKS: The New Standard
PERFORMER: Herbie Hancock (p); Michael Brecker (ts); John Scofield (g); Dave Holland (b); Jack DeJohnette (d); Don Alias (perc)
CATALOGUE NO: 527 715-2 (distr. Polygram)
Hancock has spent his career juxtaposing extremes: a certified jazz titan of the acoustic piano, his reputation has been obscured by his work as a so-so foot soldier of fusion. One of the great mysteries of the universe is why a musician capable of creating so much should have gone glossy and dedicated the last two decades of his life to filling the cut-out bins with such eminently forgettable twaddle. Yet his sporadic returns to acoustic jazz have always shown there’s still enough originality in his playing to ensure a free pardon for his commercial excesses. Hancock and Brecker previously demonstrated their copacetic relationship on The Herbie Hancock Quartet Live (Jazz Door 1270), an impressive concert from 1992. Here their relationship evolves a stage further, the prolix and emotional Brecker perfectly balanced by Hancock’s nonchalant minimalism. Holland and DeJohnette have been expertly reading the minds of pianists and hornmen for some years now, and they ensure that this album is the riposte for the current plaint, ‘Why don’t they make any great jazz records any more?’ Stuart Nicholson