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Fingerpainting - The Music of Herbie Hancock

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Album Review

This is a rather unusual tribute to Herbie Hancock on a couple different levels. There is no piano on the date, so obviously no one is heard trying to sound like Hancock; the intimate all-star trio (bassist Christian McBride, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and guitarist Mark Whitfield) avoids such typical Hancock hits as "Watermelon Man" and "Maiden Voyage," and several of the songs are real obscurities. The 14 Hancock compositions date from 1962-79, with one tune from 1985, so they do not cover his later output. Among the lesser-known tunes are the title track (first played by V.S.O.P.), "Sly" (from the Headhunters LP), and two melodies taken from the 1965 soundtrack of Blow-Up. Several of the songs (most notably "Driftin'") deserve to be revived more widely. Payton, whose versatility has in the past allowed him to emulate both Louis Armstrong and Freddie Hubbard with equal skill, here generally plays like himself, a Young Lion with a warm tone and an inventive style. Whitfield holds the group together, whether playing straight-ahead or adding a bit of funk to "Chameleon" and "Sly." McBride shows throughout why he is rightfully considered a young giant. Due to the many unfamiliar themes and offbeat instrumentation (which includes a duet apiece featuring each of the three possible combinations), this is a CD that takes a few listens to fully appreciate, but it is worth the effort. An underrated gem.

Customer Reviews

This is juicy "sit down and listen music!"

I love every one of these guys as artists. There is ample opportunity for each of them to shine in the pared down context of the trio. The result is definitely greater than any one of them individually. Check this one out!

A Longtime Favorite...

An album I just keep coming back to, and it always delivers. You'd think that without a drummer it would be lacking, but you underestimate these musicians.

Standout tracks are Driftin', Chameleon, and Eye of the Hurricane. Buy Driftin', and if you like it, grab the whole album. You won't regret it.

Fire the Producer

Ulitmately some nice performances are completely lost by a lack of production.....First the idea of a just guitar/bass/trumpet record better have *something* to offer...and this ain't *real* sound...unbalanced....dry horrible unbalanced sound....why make this record?


Born: May 31, 1972 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Nearly everyone's favorite acoustic bassist to emerge in the 1990s, Christian McBride's large sound and expertise, both with plucked and bowed solos, recall Ray Brown and particularly Paul Chambers. He actually started on electric bass when he was eight and took R&B gigs in high school, but by then he was getting more interested in jazz and playing the acoustic bass. McBride studied at Juilliard (starting in 1989) and then played briefly in the bands of Bobby Watson, Benny Golson, Roy Hargrove, and...
Full Bio
Fingerpainting - The Music of Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride
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  • Partial Album
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: Sep 09, 1997

Customer Ratings