Herbie Hancock: Rain Dance


Rain Dance


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: 86/100 (learn more)

"Rain Dance" begins with electronically generated aspects mimicking alarm clocks, handclaps and springs. Then it becomes an aural collage of videogame-like squiggles depicting a trip to outer space, including the firing of laser guns, a rocket landing and a tank rolling across a cratered lunar surface. Perhaps Neil Armstrong's 1969 moon walk was the inspiration because it works well as that event's soundtrack. In any case, the recording's sole connection to jazz lies in the familiar yet intermittent sound of traditional instruments. Overall, despite its big-screen montage quality, the music reflects an almost complete avoidance of human interaction; when the instruments appear, they stray far from any predictable pattern, and the fragmented overdubs must have taken an inordinate amount of time to assemble. The natural habitat for such an experience is the recording studio, not the stage, since much of it was crafted not by humans but by the mathematical, synthetic nature of the available recording technologies. Headphones will help if you plan to get into this. It is so packed with microscopic details that any number are bound to escape even the closest scrutiny.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary


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