HERBIE HANCOCK — Mr. Hands (review)

HERBIE HANCOCK — Mr. Hands album cover Album · 1980 · Funk Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
If I will have to take only 10 music albums on an uninhabited island, one of them would be definitely "Mr. Hands".

This album consist of six tracks and each is a small masterpiece. It's amazing if you will have a look in Hancock's previous records like avarage disco albums "Feets Don't Fail Me Now" and "Monster" or pure acoustic "The Piano" with some jazz standars. It seems that beside those commercial albums (or just on-the-wave of the disco era) Hancock still have some great thoughts of continuing his jazz-funk fusion records.

The album starts with a mind blowing "Spiraling Prism". It's hard for me to even discribe this track. The gentle flow of a bass and very delicate keyboard colorations is like flying in the sky... or watching the dawn through a giant window - and then around 2:20 you will hear how this feeling come to climax and your ears will explode with musical delight like sky fulfills with color's when sun appears. The track, like "Butterfly" from "Thrust", will get thicker and thicker and will give more pleasure with every minute. Just pay some attention, instead of listening to it as a background.

"Calypso" was recorded in trio with Tony Williams and Ron Carter from "Miles times". Fantastic exotic double-bass line is filled with ferious and florid (but not loud!) Williams drums, Hancock's beautiful piano solo and synthesizer that sounds like steel-drum.

"Just Around the Corner" is one of the best jazz-funk piece ever recorded! Slap bass line, provided by Freddie Washington (see "Forget Me Nots" by Patrice Rushen!) is far from a tech-show. It's a true, gripping funky background that changes in fantastic way when Herbie is going higher and higher. And second thing is Herbie of course. He is playing sharp, fusion-like synthesizer and soft Fender Rhodes. Do you fill lack of keyboards on "Sunlight"? Than listen to this!

Piece called "4 AM" is another gem. One more time - the bass. This time it's Jaco Pastorius who is really flying there. This is the reason why everybody loves this guy so much. He doesn't repeat the theme, he is playing something like a constant solo. Amazing! And one more time - the keyboards. This time Hancock turns into Jan Hammer's-like sound of electric guitar that adds a lot of flavour in this wonderful "constant-jam" tune. And again he plays beautiful solos on Fender.

On "Shiftless Shuffle" (which he played for the first time a year before on Japan-only "Direcstep" LP) we have a Headhunters meeting. The original jazzfunk-crew drives again. However it doesn't remind those long funky-jams from middle of 70's, it's much more jazz in a funky skin.

The LP ends with a real bliss. "Textures" is one of the most wonderful track I've ever heard! Despite it's the simplest track of whole album, it takes you 500 miles high and makes you don't want to come back to the Earth.

When somebody is a jazz-funk lover, it's really hard to unappreciate this great album. It's also good to notice that album is one of those that very clearly ends the glorious 70's. The next Herbie's LP - Magic Windows - will be a step into new style and all those electronic disco-funk things.
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