Herbie Hancock: Ostinato (Suite for Angela)


Ostinato (Suite for Angela)


Herbie Hancock (Fender Rhodes piano)


Mwandishi (WS 1898)

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Herbie Hancock (Fender Rhodes piano),

Eddie Henderson (trumpet flugelhorn), Julian Priester (trombone), Benny Maupin (bass clarinet, alto flute), Ronnie Montrose (guitar), Buster Williams (bass), Billy Hart (drums), Leon Chancler (drums, percussion), Jose “Capito” Areas (percussion)


Composed by Herbie Hancock


Recorded: San Francisco, CA, December 31, 1970


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

The early space fusion piece "Ostinato (Suite For Angela)" was Herbie Hancock's unveiling of a new approach, using a melodic theme or vamp only as a loose guideline so the players could explore freely without boxing themselves in. This ostinato is stated over an off-center 15/4 time signature, powered by Hart, Chancler, and Santana band-member Areas's formidable West African pulse. Even Montrose's guitar exists to add to the percussion.

Trumpeter Eddie Henderson starts the soloing, soaring in a hard-bop vein as Hancock comps furiously, often turning up reverb and Echoplexing as if straining to get out front. When he finally does, we see his immense abilities as an improviser, going to the outer limits of the melody yet staying well attuned to the odd shuffle. Maupin's turn is relatively brief, but he maximizes his time with his usual dark, evocative bass clarinet. All along the way, the percussion section and Priester play off the mood of the soloists, even quickening the pace subtly, completing Hancock's electric-powered blueprint of funky, collective improvisation.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron

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