Gerald Wilson: Watermelon Man

Gerald Wilson always included new compositions of artists he respected. His was the first big band besides Duke Ellington's to play "Come Sunday."  "Groovin' High," "Miles" (the correct name of the tune most know as "Milestones"), "So What" and "Freddie Freeloader" were also part of Gerald's book. "Watermelon Man" was Herbie Hancock's crossover Latin/rock hit that quite a few ensembles played, and which Wilson was smart enough to include for younger listeners. Soloists Hill, Amy, Moore, Ortega (on both piccolo and flute) and Edwards really get down and funky.

April 03, 2008 · 0 comments


Herbie Hancock: Watermelon Man (from Head Hunters, 1973)

Always dangerous to try to remake a classic. You can't just turn Citizen Kane into an story about an Internet media tycoon or make Moby Dick into a reality show. But every once in a while, an old masterpiece gets a fresh, invigorating take. Here Herbie Hancock reconfigures his 1962 hard-bop hit "Watermelon Man" into a 1973 fusion tune. Bill Summers' brilliant work on percussion (including a very cool imitation of the African hindewhu achieved by blowing into a beer bottle) is worth the price of admission alone. And Hancock gets high marks for the daring step of bringing the tempo down several notches from his Blue Note version, proving that slow-mo can be funkier than fast-forward. And when it's all done, put it on replay to hear that Summers intro one more time. Here is fusion that really fuses, drawing on African, Caribbean and jazz traditions, and mixing them into a cross-cultural gumbo.

November 28, 2007 · 0 comments


Mongo Santamaria: Watermelon Man

“Watermelon Man” was an enormously successful hit for both Mongo Santamaria and its composer, Herbie Hancock. The trumpet player, Marty Sheller, plays the only solo in a song that features a groove-oriented melody in an arrangement favoring more Latin percussion than the Hancock original. This song anticipated the bugalu movement in Latin jazz that would take hold later in the 1960s. Bugalu (or boogaloo) incorporated elements of Cuban and Puerto Rican music, as well as American soul and R&B.

October 25, 2007 · 0 comments


Herbie Hancock: Watermelon Man

Appearing on Herbie Hancock’s first album as a leader, the catchy “Watermelon Man,” with its strong backbeat and earthy quality, quickly became extremely popular. A Latin pop-jazz version issued a short time later by the Afro-Cuban percussionist-bandleader Mongo Santamaria became a major hit and led to numerous other recordings of the song over the years. Hancock himself released a new, electronically enhanced funk version on his 1973 album Head Hunters. Tenorist Dexter Gordon’s solo on the original track is as down-and-dirty as any he ever recorded.

October 23, 2007 · 0 comments


Previous Page | Next Page