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Album Review

Beyond category or idiom, audacious in its very idea, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter perform a little over an hour of spontaneous improvised duets for grand piano and soprano sax. That's all — no synthesizers, no rhythm sections, just wistful, introspective, elevated musings between two erudite old friends that must have made the accountants at PolyGram reach for their Mylanta. Hancock's piano is long on complex harmonies of the most cerebral sort, occasionally breaking out into a few agitated passages of dissonance. His technique in great shape, Shorter responds with long-limbed melodies, darting responses to Hancock's lashings, and occasional painful outcries of emotion. The leadoff track, "Meridianne — A Wood Sylph," clearly takes off from a base of Satie to set the reflective mood for nearly the whole CD; only the final, brief "Hale-Bopp, Hip-Hop" offers a hint of comic relief. All of the tunes, save for Michiel Borstlap's "Memory of Enchantment," are Hancock or Shorter originals; some, like Hancock's "Joanna's Theme" (from the film Death Wish) and Shorter's "Diana," date back to the '70s. As avidly as this music was awaited and as wildly as it was acclaimed by critics, it doesn't really touch the emotions as deeply as the best of the pair's work together and apart. It stands as a graceful, high-minded anomaly in the output of both, but not something you would expect to pull off the shelf to hear too often. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

1+1 Review

1+1= An awesome combination of piano and jazz. Most know Herbie Hancock from the famous video for Rockit, but this album will remind listeners of a more Grover Washington-like sound than the wicky-wicky sounds of from MTV's 80's montra.

HH + WS = Very Good Stuff

This album is a great effort by two long-time collaborators. Both Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter are giants in their own right, but together, they yield something surprising and wonderful. If you love Dexter Gordon’s take on Jimmy Rowel’s The Peacocks from the Round Midnight soundtrack, you will love this. There is just something about the way Shorter plays on this that is so reminiscent of Gordon’s sound on that particular recording of that classic tune. There is a feeling of intimacy and familiarity that both artist bring to this recording that make it a very good album for jazz enthusiasts and a must have for anyone serious about either Hancock or Shorter.

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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