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Gershwin's World

Herbie Hancock

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Album Review

Gershwin's World is a tour de force for Herbie Hancock, transcending genre and label, and ranking among the finest recordings of his lengthy career. Released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of George Gershwin's birth, this disc features jazzman Hancock with a classy collection of special guests. The most surprising of Hancock's guest stars is Joni Mitchell, who delivers a gorgeously sensual vocal on "The Man I Love," then provides an airy, worldly take on "Summertime." On these two tracks, she shows she has come a long way from her folksinger beginnings to become a first-class jazz singer in her own right. Stevie Wonder's unmistakable harmonica complements Mitchell's singing on "Summertime" and shares lead instrument space with his own voice on the W.C. Handy classic "St. Louis Blues." Jazzman extraordinaire Wayne Shorter smokes a solo spot on Duke Ellington's "Cotton Tail" and carves out some space for his soprano saxophone in the midst of "Summertime." A number of the young lions of jazz are featured on various cuts, and Herbie's old pal Chick Corea joins the leader for a piano duet of James P. Johnson's "Blueberry Rhyme." Gershwin's wonderful, extended "Lullaby" finds Hancock teamed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, as does an attractive arrangement of a "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra" by Maurice Ravel, whose jazz influence can be heard on the piece. In addition, one of the most beautiful tracks on the album places star soprano Kathleen Battle's voice at the forefront of Gershwin's own "Prelude in C# Minor." Yet with all the fine performances by his guests, Gershwin's World remains Hancock's show, and he plays magnificently throughout. From beautiful to funky, percussive to melodic, improvisational to tightly arranged, Hancock and cohorts take a wondrous journey through the music and world of Gershwin.

Customer Reviews

Gershwin's World

There are elements of genius in this album; it is one of my desert island picks. I can only imagine that Ravel would thrill at his interpretation of the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G; I can't stop listening to this. You have got to listen to this album.

Herbie Hancock's Mind Gershwin's World

This is a beastly album with monster guest artists. Joni Mitchell is suprisingly jazzy. Eddie Henderson belts a great muted a trumpet. Wayne Shorter is awesome. Stevie does some great scatting and a bluesy harmonica solo. Vocalists; Joni Mitchell, Kathleen Battle, and Stevie Wonder (also on harmonica) Sax; Wayne Shorter, Kenny garret, and James Carter Trumpet; Eddie Henderson Piano; Chick Corea (duet on Buleberry Rhyme) Bass; Ira Coleman

Gershwin's World

Everybody knows that Herbie Hancock is a genius. But when you listen to how he renders the Ravel Piano Concerto movement on this album, morphing it from the classical into a jazz fantasy, you will be amazed (and delighted). This is a wonderful album.

Biography

Born: April 12, 1940 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Herbie Hancock will always be one of the most revered and controversial figures in jazz — just as his employer/mentor Miles Davis was when he was alive. Unlike Miles, who pressed ahead relentlessly and never looked back until near the very end, Hancock has cut a zigzagging forward path, shuttling between almost every development in electronic and acoustic jazz and R&B over the last third of the 20th century and into the 21st. Though grounded in Bill Evans and able to absorb blues, funk,...
Full Bio

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