Saturday, September 02, 2006

Herbie Hancock - Flood (Columbia, 1975)

I spent quite a while searching for this Japan-only release of Herbie and the Headhunters live, but is was certainly worth the wait. The concert opens with Hancock playing some suptuous acoustic piano on "Maiden Voyage" as the band slowly joins him with electric bass, drums and flute seguing into "Actual Proof" which moves things at a more brisk tempo with some excellent flute and bass playing. "Spank-a-Lee" brings the Headhunters funky fusion full force, with hand percussion, bubbling bass and funky saxophone coalescing into a nice funk-jazz collective improvisation by the whole group.

"Watermelon Man" extends the funk to the delight of the crowd, while the horns and synths still manage to maintain an organic feel. Herbie brings in some cool sounding electric piano, and there's a smokin' tenor saxophone solo from Bennie Maupin to boot. Dedicated to 'the beautiful ladies of Tokyo,' "Butterfly" is a ballad with synthesizers and saxophone in the lead. Herbie gets down with his gadgets as funky bass holds down the bottom. "Chameleon" blasts off for sci-fi land with all sorts of futuristic sounding electronic keyboards on display, before the band comes back down to earth with the lengthy "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" which has some wonderful extended fender rhodes soloing from Hancock. This is an enjoyable album and worth searching for if you are a fan of funky fusion.

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