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Album Review

This quiet, lovely record, in which the Gambian kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso is given equal billing, was generally ignored when it came out, probably because it fit no one's preconceived idioms — be they jazz, funk, MTV, or even world music. The only performers are Hancock on a detunable Yamaha DX-1 synthesizer and drum machine and Suso spinning his webs of delicate sound on the zither-like kora, vocalizing a bit and playing a talking drum — all in real time in a Tokyo studio. The results are absolutely mesmerizing, with Herbie aligning himself perfectly within Suso's unusual, complex rhythmic conceptions and folk-like harmonies. On the 20-minute "Kanatente," Hancock does introduce some of his own advanced harmonic ideas, and he contrasts and interweaves them with Suso's deceptively simple lines in a splendid jam session that eventually ends in a dance that can only be described as Gambian funk. This music generates the same feeling of ecstatic well-being as an Indian raga — and even hardcore jazz fans may find themselves seduced against their will. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Long-lost Pleasure

I bought this on cassette when it was first released, but it was lost in a fire. The simple textures and the superb musicianship captivated me decades ago and the music still has the same effect today. I thought I would never hear this again! Thank you I Tunes.

An Overlooked Masterpiece

I bought this album when it first was released and frankly was disappointed. It was the mid 80's and I was expecting a mix of "Rockit" with some world music (I wanted to dance). The laid back nature of the record caught me off-guard and so after playing the record one time I put it on a shelf where it collected dust for many years. I rediscovered the album a few years ago and was overwhelmed by its beauty. This is a superb album - the music is gentle and moving. "Early Warning" and "Moonlight" are my favorite songs but "Ndan Ndan Nyaria" and "Kanatente" are also very good. I am happy to see "Village Life" available on i-Tunes. Buy "Village Life", play it while enjoying a bottle of wine or pot of tea in the evening, and send the problems of the world away for 40 minutes.

Mr. Hancock Does it Again

Or should I say he did (way back when) again?!? This is really beautiful music -- definitely world music because it takes me to far away places. Simply beautiful.


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, gospel,...
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