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Mr. Hands

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Album Review

Herbie Hancock's lackluster string of electric albums around this period was enhanced by this one shining exception: an incorrigibly eclectic record that flits freely all over the spectrum. Using several different rhythm sections, Herbie Hancock is much more the imaginative hands-on player than at any time since the prime Headhunters period, overdubbing lots of parts from his ever-growing collection of keyboards. He has regained a good deal of his ability to ride in the groove. "Calypso" finds him playing synthesized steel drums and interacting with customary complexity and ebullience with V.S.O.P. mates Tony Williams and Ron Carter. Disco rears its head, but inventively this time on "Just Around the Corner," and in league with Jaco Pastorius' vibrating, interlacing bass, Hancock gets off some good, updated jazz-funk on "Spiraling Prism" and "4 AM." There is even a reunion of the original Headhunters on a rhythmically tangled remake of "Shiftless Shuffle"; drummer Harvey Mason sounds like a rhythm machine gone bonkers. Easily the outstanding track — and one of Hancock's most haunting meditations — is "Textures," where he plays all of the instruments himself. This would be the last outcropping of electronic delicacy from Hancock for some time, and it was mostly — and unjustly — overlooked when it came out. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

"Mr. Hands" Is Solid But You Must Purchase "Textures"!

Back in 1980 when I was in college, I spent many evenings listening to quiet storm radio while I was studying. I recall with great fondness the first time I heard the song "Textures" on the radio. I loved it. Soon it was in heavy rotation and I would stop studying and close my eyes whenever the song came on the radio. It blew me away then and it does the same today. It is an amazing and haunting song and one of my favorite Herbie Hancock compositions. Unfortunately "Textures" and the rest of "Mr. Hands" was overlooked commercially and critically (and unlike the reviewer, I actually happened to enjoy this period of Herbie's music). The whole album is quite good ("Sprialing Prism", "4 A.M." and "Shiftless Shuffle" are also strong tracks) but if you only have $1.00 to spend on music downloads, purchase "Textures" - you won't be disappointed.


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