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Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Roy Hargrove- Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall
June 11, 2002
Original Release Date: June 11, 2002

Herbie Hancock/Piano, Michael Brecker/Sax, Roy Hargrove/Trumpet, John Patitucci/Bass, Brian Blade/Drums

1. The Sorcerer
2. The Poet
3. So What/Impressions
4. Misstery
5. Naima
6. Transition
7. My Ship
8. D Trane

I had the honor to attend this concert. It was THE BEST concert I went to in 2001, hands down. The masthead calls this a celebration of the music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, because these two give Hancock and Brecker directions in music. True enough, they have inherited the genes from the two greats. But in effect, this concert also marks a celebration of Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker's music, for they, too, have illuminated jazz and directed the music in the right direction.

Being the leader of 70's jazz-funk movement (i.e. HeadHunters), Herbie Hancock has tried eveything from classical, pop to hip-hop. In recent years, his route of music playing is at best uneven, with the disastrous release of Gershwin's World, playing Nirvana with embarrassment on New Standards, and also occasionally and partly truimphs in Future2Future. While he should never have released those questionable albums, this time he is back to bebop roots (i.e. Blue Note years) and his piano playing is the least contrived and derivative in recent years, in my memory.

Roy Hargrove has something to say with his rebel rouser interpretation of the jazz trumpet. He carefully does not fall into the trap of being a Miles Davis clone, but expressively expresses his feelings through restrained and skillful crafted solos.

The evening's biggest treasure is bassist John Patitucci. While being hailed as simply the best electric bass player, he shows here he can still be funky and skillful as an acoustic bassist. And his playing here puts him on the same level with Ron Carter and Charlie Haden and Christian McBride as jazz's best bassists. His funky start in "So What/Impressions" is enough to give him that throne. So look for his solos. Brian Blade is also decent here on the drums.

Needless to say, Hancock and Brecker have a wider scope of jazz than their precedessors, opening up more roads and visions for jazz development. They sound no way like Miles and Coltrane. So in the tune "So What/Impressions," you hear the foundations of Miles and Coltrane, but you also hear the creativity and unique vision of Brecker and Hancock. In the classic Coltrane tune "Naima," Brecker even outplays the great by surpassing him musically and creatively. Only Miles and Coltrane would be proud of the success of these cats!

Extended Listening

-Miles Davis- Kind of Blue
-Miles Davis- Round Midnight


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