HERBIE HANCOCK — Head Hunters (review)

HERBIE HANCOCK — Head Hunters album cover Album · 1973 · Funk Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
bsidePL
This album is totally visible landmark of not only jazz, but the whole popular disco music.

After few years of electronic avant-garde period Hancock found himself not in the point he had previously wanted to be. His Mwandishi sextet, yet very original, didn't gain so much popularity it deserved. There vere also some financial issue. Herbie turned into a rising jazz-funk music (he was also one of the pioneer in popularising this kind of music with r'n'b "Watermelon man" in '63).

The album starts with an absolute killer - legandary "Chameleon". The funky syntesizer bass line quickly became a great inspirations for many fusion bands all over the world. But the synth-work isn't the only interesting thing in this track. There is also a very clever use of saxophone by "one-man horn section" Bennie Maupin and untypical "broken" funky percussions. And long, long keyboard solos. In contrast to Blue Note and CTI jazz-funk records from this time you won't find easy-listening Fender solos on this album. Herbie goes hardcore with his incredible keys playing. Despite rhyhtm is ideal for disco, average listener won't find it easy to dance to it as well to listen to it! This over 15-minutes tracks consist also of beautiful part filled with extremely original bass playing by great Paul Jackson, cunning Fender solos by Hancock and beautiful synth textures.

"Watermelon Man" is amazing cover of Hancock's tune from '63. A slow jam reminds a kind of crazy, slow tribal trance-dance or ritual with lead played by whistling into glass bottles!

"Sly" is a tribute to Sly and his Family Stone, which had a tremendous influence on 70s black music. Yet there are no screams or guitar, the sharp intro reminds a funky-rock playing. Main part of the track is again a brilliant bass theme and energetic drums and conga playing that gives excelent layer for harsh Maupin sax solos and dynamic, fast Hancock's Fender solo.

The weakest point of the album is the last track. After an real musical orgy we have to travel back in time to something that sounds like 60s tune with keyboards and new arrangements. I'd listen to this album dozens of time and I still can't understand why this track is on this album.

Neverthelss - it's impossible to deny the value "Headhunters" and it's impact on world music. Jazz and jazz-funk lovers will... love it (especialy those who seek for something more difficult to listen to), any other music fans won't pass it indifferently.
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