HERBIE HANCOCK — Speak Like a Child (review)

HERBIE HANCOCK — Speak Like a Child album cover Album · 1968 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
js
Somewhere in between his high profile stint with Miles Davis and the formation of his experimental Sextet, Herbie Hancock found time to record this beautiful documentation of what an incredible piano player he had become. I love the music on here, it tends to be relaxed and 60s cool, but at the same time very abstract and intellectual, it is the ultimate in pre-hippie hipster music, lounge music for the swinger who has Sarte on his coffee table instead of Playboy. This was recorded before Herbie decided to dive headlong into electronic keyboards and his piano playing is exquisite. As usual, his harmonies fall somewhere between Debussy and Bill Evans, and his soft touch is used to full expression on these dreamy pastel like tunes. Although most of the tunes on here fit the previously described laid back mood, a couple of tunes break the mold. Album opener Riot is a bit agitated and features a fairly strong piano solo, but not as strong as the song title might suggest. The Ron Carter penned First Trip is a throwback to Hancock's early 60s bluesy hard bop roots, but most everything else on here maintains a more impressionistic tone.

Although there are three horn players on here, none of them ever solo, instead they orchestrate the melody and occasionally add color to Herbie's tonal explorations. The arrangements used with this small ensemble are incredible, somehow Hancock uses clever voicings to make them sound like a small orchestra. Scoring for this threesome will pay off for Hancock when he hires a similar horn section for his Sextet and combines his sense of orchestration with electronics for an even larger tonal palette.

If you like really good piano playing, and who doesn't, Herbie is at the peak of his game here. His inventive chord substitutions, lush harmonies, precise rhythms and ability to focus and build long solos put him at the very top in the world of jazz and fusion. This album is one of a kind, abstract futuristic lounge music for hipsters in any era, even eras still to come.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Lost Songs : Live At Abbazia Di Rosazzo Winery Eclectic Fusion
FRANCESCO BEARZATTI
Buy this album from MMA partners
Nítido E Obscuro : Live At Venica & Venica Winery Post-Fusion Contemporary
GABRIELE MIRABASSI
Buy this album from MMA partners
Alive In The East? (ft Evan Parker ) Eclectic Fusion
BINKER & MOSES
Buy this album from MMA partners
Baron & Schulkowsky : Now You Hear Me Jazz Related Improv/Composition
JOEY BARON
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

My Singing Fingers
BONGWOOL LEE
js· 1 day ago
Douce ambiance
STEPHANE WREMBEL
js· 1 day ago
Delights of decay
BATAGRAF
js· 1 day ago
Errores Involuntarios
ABRETE GANDUL
js· 2 days ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us