HERBIE HANCOCK — Mr. Hands (review)

HERBIE HANCOCK — Mr. Hands album cover Album · 1980 · Funk Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
dreadpirateroberts
On ‘Mr Hands’ Hancock blends a mix of the spacey sounds first heard on ‘Head Hunters’ with the more compact funk and jazz he showcased on ‘Man Child.’ Flash to 1980 and here his forward-looking production has blended ‘modern’ sounds with a more familiar funk and jazz sound, more than ably assisted by a revolving cast that features Tony Williams, Ron Carter and Alphonse Mouzon among others – even, on Shiftless Shuffle, a reunion of the original ‘Head Hunters’ line-up.

Overall it’s a pretty damn enjoyable album, one which seems to be overlooked in his canon sometimes (and that’s no small list to look through). It sounds like the performers are having fun and there’s a driving feel to much of the playing too, something which is quite welcome, put this album on and you’ll feel good too – start with Just Around the Corner and see. While no single player dominates, in Shiftless Shuffle where the Head Hunters band is reunited, Mason especially stands out. He’s handy indeed. On this song especially, a classic jazz funk fusion sound is clear and it reminds me just how much Herbie Hancock and his band pioneered for the genre.

In fact, while there’s enough of a laid back feel to the music to contrast the more upbeat pieces, such as the opener and especially the ‘textured’ 4 am, the focus overall remains on a funky fusion where Hancock’s variety of electric keys keep things interesting, making for a fine contrast to his solos, which are delivered with some aggression. Worth a look for fans of the genre, and damn near essential for Hancock fans.
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