V.S.O.P.: Darts




Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), and Wayne Shorter (tenor sax, soprano sax)


VSOP: The Quintet (Columbia 34976)

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Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (tenor sax, soprano sax).

Composed by Herbie Hancock


Recorded: Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA, July 16, 1977 or Civic Theatre, San Diego, July 18, 1977


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Herbie takes one his most exuberant solos on “Darts" from V.S.O.P.–The Quintet, which is a live album recorded in 1977. I’m not sure if he’s playing an acoustic piano or sort of a Yamaha Grand, but what he’s playing is so sparkling. He starts this swirling rhythmic figure, and then he goes up higher and higher on the keyboard. and when he gets ready to explode, he hits the climax, sort of waits for a second, and then BOOM, he hits you with his line. The swing is ferocious. I saw V.S.O.P. play live, too, and it definitely had a different feel than the Miles Davis Quintet. One thing that struck me is how much heavier Tony Williams sounded in the ensemble—he was using much bigger drums, and he was just playing heavier, because he’d been playing a heavier style of music. The way that they had to adapt to Tony’s style made it less subtle, but it was still very powerful to hear it live. Now, I love Tony Williams. He was an incredible genius. Sometimes with Miles, Tony would drop out, and then sneak back in. His dynamic range was broad, which gave the other musicians that much more to work with. Also, playing with Freddie Hubbard was different than playing with Miles, because it seemed, especially from a group perspective, to get into a more typical head-solo thing. Miles had a way of injecting a certain magic into how the group played, because everything was always on edge.

Reviewer: Uri Caine


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