I've struggled over the star rating on this one, though I shouldn't - but I just can't decide between three and four stars.
Because it's a great album, no doubt about it. It's simply hard to decide how much I've enjoyed it. No matter, more importantly - what's the music like? Well, it's great post-bop mixed with Jewish prayers. Spoken and sung over the jazz, the vocals weave in and out of the spotlight during this live concert from 1968, which showcases Hancock and Thad Jones, along with Jerome Richardson on saxes and flute, especially.
The pieces range from brief interludes where soprano and alto voices lead, to longer pieces where the jazz musicians stretch the music. Hancock is lyrical as ever, moving through cool moments, bluesy passages and more exploratory pieces like Torah Service and the wonderful Sanctification.
Ultimately, this should be of special interest to Hancock fans, and everyone turns in great performances but for me personally, the vocals don't gel with the jazz as smoothly as I expected. Not to say the vocalists aren't dexterous enough, but there's something about their vocal lines that seem disconnected to what the musicians are playing. It can distract me at times but it's not a flaw by any means.