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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Herbie Hancock & Bobby Hutcherson Quartet - Sketched in the theme

Herbie_hancockThough the instrumental voices and material are quite different, Herbie Hancock more or less picked up here where he left off on the same stage with the 2001 Davis/Coltrane tribute band. Like his contemporary and former Miles Davis partner Wayne Shorter, Hancock confirmed that he has adopted a collectively expressive approach, much like the modus operandi of the 1960s Miles Davis Quintet, whose intuitive sensibilities still hover around this music. In a two-hour unbroken set in the company of vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, classic tunes were slyly hidden, hinted at or played only after they had been improvised upon.
Dynamic levels were kept down for long periods, then exploded without warning. Straight, between-the-eyes funk was touched on (hardly avoidable for a player with Hancock's chart-busting track record), but with the backbeat dispersed into flurries of polyrhythms, and the original hooks hidden under streams of arpeggios.
Bobby_hutchersonIt was as if Hancock knows that he can do what he likes with anything he plays, however far stretched from a groove or a song. The roar that went up when he came on stage proved it.
At first it sounded as if Carrington - who kept up a waterfall of percussion all night and knew unerringly where she was, however elastic the pulse - would overwhelm the effusive whisper of Hutcherson's contributions. The drummer's controlled-explosion approach seemed more attuned to Hancock's streaming runs and percussive chords, but when the dynamics settled, the listening powers of these players opened up.
Hutcherson began whipping a mallet down the keys of the vibes to echo Hancock's most liquid figures, and a spacious exploration of music, reforged from Dolphin Dance, moved between insinuating meditation and snarling, emphatic vamps. Late in this extended piece, Carrington began playing like the most virtuosic of rock drummers, but with the accents audaciously scattered. Finally, Hutcherson sketched in the theme.
Hutcherson's own mid-tempo November was a relaxed piece of straight-ahead swing and classic bebop, and Shorter's Footprints weaved in and out. A racing groove at the close could have gone on all night. And, for the encore, the band played cruising bop, instead of cosily reverting to the Hancock hit-medley they could have done. The show was entirely their call, and they made the most of it.

Dolphin Dance
Virtual Hornets
Actual Proof
Little B's Poem

Note: Most of the tracks are linked in a long medley, I have cut the tracks into 7 parts

 Herbie Hancock Quartet - Barbican, London, 07/03/03Line Up
Herbie Hancock - piano
Bobby Hutcherson - vibraphones
Scott Colley - bass
Terri Lyne Carrington - drums

LOCATION / VENUELondon Barbican DATE07/03/03 

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