Miles Davis: Hand Jive


Hand Jive


Miles Davis (trumpet)


Nefertiti (Columbia 65681)

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

Composed by Tony Williams


Recorded: New York, June 22, 1967


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

I have many favorites from the period that Herbie spent with Miles, and one of them is “Hand Jive," a song from Nefertiti. It’s one of the records where Herbie solos just using one line, with no left hand comping and no supporting chords—very different from the “My Funny Valentine” type of playing with Miles. It sounds like Herbie is a horn player playing single lines like Wayne and Miles, or also the Lennie Tristano thing of playing lines with no chords. There’s something really stark about that, and yet, coupled with what’s happening underneath it, with Ron Carter’s basslines and the fluidity of Tony Williams’ playing, those lines just seem to be bobbing-and-weaving throughout. The harmony can be very vague. So the feeling is very open but always swinging, rhythmically strong. I’m not sure whether Herbie was playing that way because Miles suggested it to him, “Don’t play chords so much, play lines,” for textural reasons. But whoever came up with the idea, I guess it doesn’t matter. The texture is so different from most of the other recordings of his that I love.

Reviewer: Uri Caine


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