Friday, April 4, 2008

Herbie Hancock Wins Grammy; Has No Problem with Continuing to Make Crappy Music

For those of you haven't seen the new "Yahoo! Nissan Live Set" of Herbie Hancock's, don't. It's probably the best example of great musicians making terribly cheesy, pandering cross-over music since "Future 2 Future," or at least "Possibilities."

The tracks with Joni Mitchell ("Tea Leaf Prophecy" and "Hanah") are the best of the bunch, but even those are just barely listenable (albeit very new age, with Marcus Miller doing his best impression of Jaco at his most pornographic-sounding). Perhaps the reason for this is that these are the songs that sound most like Hancock's most recent album, the grammy-winning "River: The Joni Letters," an undeniably interesting (and not very crossover) album of (mostly) Joni Mitchell covers. The record is great, having more in common with Wayne Shorter's quartet than Hancock's more pop-oriented music, but this particular live performance is not.

All of the band members have impeccable pedigrees, and have made their fare share of good music. However, this fact barely serves as a legitimate excuse for the version of Chameleon (hyperlink at the top of this blog) played here, which is so corny that not even Lionel Loueke's guitar work can save it. Hancock doesn't seem to have realized that the novelty of a "Keytar" (if there ever was novelty to begin with) has worn off since Jan Hammer's "Theme from Miami Vice." To make matters worse, after finally sitting down and playing piano (after five minutes of keytar wanking), Hancock starts playing the synth-horn setting on his keyboard during Loueke's solo.

Can't Herbie Hancock afford to play with a real horn section? Does he even want to? Does he actually have so much contempt for the average listener that he thinks a keytar will make a non-jazz audience take his music seriously? While the answer to the last question seems to be a resounding "yes," the jury is still out on the first two.

I was serious at the beginning, if you didn't already click on the link at the top, don't. It isn't worth it. Go out and listen to "River" instead.

1 comment:

whitefacemusic said...

man, i told you that i would be the guy that constantly disagrees with you on everything even if i don't. but i'm finding it really hard to disagree with you on this first one.

but there were some cool things they were playing. even if you're too much of a jerk to listen to their subtleties.

oh well, i suppose i'll have better luck disagreeing next time.