Herbie Hancock – Possibilities
(Vector – 2005)
by Ray Redmond
The master is back! Piano and keyboard legend Herbie Hancock has gethered an unlikely combination of the old and the new to spawn what I can only call a wonderfully unexpected album. This release stretches the definitions of genre and jumps past the generation gap to touch listeners of all ages, and not just jazz listeners. With tracks written by Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Sting, just to name a few, you already get the picture…
The roster on this project reads like a cross-genre, cross-generational blueprint; Joss Stone, Annie Lennox, Sting, Paul Simon, John Mayer, Christina Aquillera (who was “stellar”) and more. Says Hancock: “They brought what they do to the table, and I brought what I do to the table. The result is a music that allows us to all go outside the pigeonholes the music business forces us to stay in. We’re breaking down expectations, walking the tightrope while not scaring our fan bases away.”
And believe me, the CD delivers every bit of the combined class and jammin’ you expect from Mr. Hancock and that all-star cast of veterans and young stars. I particularly liked the world-flavored Safiatou, featuring Santana and Beninese diva Angélique Kidjo, for the classic guitar flair and flavorful vocalizations.
Another jammer on this CD is When Love Comes To Town. Herbie’s timely piano passages collaborate with British soulstress Joss Stone and blues man Jonny Lang to bring the down and dirty straight to your player. The treatment of Sting’s Sister Moon, featuring Sting (of course,) is a more up tempo and classy take on a song that was originally beautiful, but brooding.
The already lovely Steveland Morris classic I Just Called To Say I Love You is presented here by Mr Hancock with a certain grace and beauty, with an added joi de vive from singer Raul Midón as he paints on Hancock’s musical canvas. I could go on and on about Possibilities… so you should go on and on… and on out to the store and get this one!