Herbie Hancock: Hornets




Herbie Hancock (piano, Fender Rhodes, Hohner D-6 clavinet, mellotron, handclaps)


Sextant (Legacy CK 64983)

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Herbie Hancock (piano, Fender Rhodes, Hohner D-6 clavinet, mellotron, handclaps),

Dr. Eddie Henderson (trumpet, flugelhorn), Julian Priester (bass trombone, tenor trombone, alto trombone, cowbell), Bennie Maupin (soprano sax, bass clarinet, piccolo, afuche, hum-a-zoo), Dr. Patrick Gleeson (ARP 2600 and soloist), Billy Hart (drums), Buck Clarke (percussion)


Composed by Herbie Hancock


Recorded: San Francisco, CA, early 1973


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

Herbie Hancock must have thought that the kazoo sounded like an insect, because the instrument is an element of this track's horn section. Their 4-note segues are completely indebted to Miles Davis but become caught in a web of pests, obtuse changes, and musicians who foreshadow them by throwing many different ingredients into an already crowded mix. The collective experimentalism is never in doubt, yet the track finds accessibility in its coherent, driving disco beats, its 4-on-the-floor rhythms and an unchanging bass pattern. As a result, it is less abstract than intended, despite most of its elements being obscured by echo chambers, envelopers, flangers, layers of heavy compression and reverb, and wah pedal. A tone- wheel shifts the harmonics to either side of the median at any given time as the effects bounce back and forth by way of hard left and right panning. Sounding unlike much else, the track relies on its imaginary visual appeal, and such music must remain flexible as it assumes a variety of interpretations for different consumers. The shared quality between this and film music is significant because the recording's direction is always tilted towards optical illusion.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary


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