Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette – Live @ Scullers

Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnetteHerbie Hancock, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette @ Symphony Hall
(Boston ­ April 18, 2004)
by Matthew Robinson

This performance represented the marriage of three contemporary legends. And like any proper marriage, it included something old, something new, something borrowed, and something (kind of) blue. The first category was filled in part by the opening rendition of Cole Porter’s “I Love You” and also by a reworking of Hancock’s own “Cantaloupe Island.” The former piece featured Hancock’s bright keys and DeJohnette’s staccato drum rides over Holland’s smooth undertones. And though Holland was occasionally overwhelmed by DeJohnette’s bomb dropping and near constant cymbal work, his extended bass solos allowed him time and space to step up and lay it down.

“Island” was backed into by way of a frenetic piano solo, but as soon as the familiar theme had been established, the trio and the diverse crowd clicked in. As Hancock shimmied on his stool and DeJohnette splashed his tuned cymbals, Holland invited the audience to “Come Together” with Them 3. The “new” piece was Holland’s own “Pathways,” a lush bass line topped by Hancock’s multi-directional excursions and DeJohnette’s crisp ride runs. As for what was borrowed, that was complicated, for in addition to covers of Porter and Stevie Wonder (an expansive interpretation of “You Got It Bad, Woman”), it could be said that, in taking back “Island,” Hancock was borrowing from those who had borrowed from him. Regardless, the final category was covered both in shared tales of days with Miles Davis and also in the closing “Maiden Voyage,” a mellow send-off for an often awed and always appreciative audience.

© 2004, M. S. Robinson, ARR