Herbie Hancock: Quasar




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


Crossings (Warner 247542)

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

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 Bennie Maupin


Recorded: San Mateo, CA, February 1972


Rating: 83/100 (learn more)

The picturesque "Quasar" seems composed for a film action sequence. The improvisations lift off with trilling horns that could be searching for a faraway galaxy. They are joined by snarling drums prepared specifically for an alien cocktail lounge, and weird synthesizer babbling that shadows the raga underneath. The painstakingly stiff, quasi world must have taken lots of time and money to complete, as its complexity is on par with the big-budget film soundtracks it emulates. In today's virtual world, this would take much less effort, but still such complexity cannot be achieved overnight, and the overall destination must have been tough to predict, even from the producer's chair. The idea of controlled chaos is prevalent, yet atypically several sections are tightly woven, and much of the orchestration and soloing grapples with normalcy. Jagged, electronic elements meet with smoother, jazzier ones, and the resultant shock cinema does not fully transcend those qualities. A sci-fi nightmare is depicted, yet somewhat belied by a mixture of dark and light emotional extremes that clash even harder than the surface aspects that were crafted especially for such collision.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary


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