Everybody knows Herbie Hancock, but wait a minute, which Hancock are we talking about? The absolute genius of piano at the age of 11 with the Chicago symphony orchestra or the manufacturer of disco attractions? The sophisticated composer/pianist of milestones like Maiden Voyage, or the shallow pop artist of The River? A master of acoustic improvisation or a techno oriented disc jockey, or even an electric/acid jazz fanatic?
Is it possible all these different visages belong to one person? The answer is yes, but let's not forget that he is one of those adventurous musician that for studying his career, sometimes we must to be cruel and lot of eliminations will be necessary.
The Hancock I want to talk about now, doesn’t belong to any of these extremes categories. It’s an unknown and less publicized part of his career. It’s the Hancock of fantastic Inventions and Dimensions, his third studio effort.
AMG calls it "exploring a Latin-inflected variation of post-bop with a small quartet," and gives it a four stars rating (from five). The only problem is that the ladies and gentlemen in the business who make big money from "directing" the music industry by this rating and evaluation system haven't listen to the album!
First, there isn't any musical sign of Latin influences in this album, except maybe brief moments in track 3 (Jack Rabbit). Maybe the auteur had been a witness to the recording session and the Latin clothing of Herbie at that time has made him to write such a line.
Second, it's not a quartet and it's a trio. Maybe he counts double bass, two times -- or maybe CD details has caused this presumption (by naming four people in the line up) and he has thought that the conga player, Osvaldo Martinez, is a permanent performer of the whole session, which is not.
That was only for reminding you that don't trust this gigantic databases and their weak views, their manipulations, and sometimes (in this case) wrong informations.
Inventions and Dimensions, rhythmically is a very complex album and a very important session to follow Hancock's surprising career. It's easier to understand and appreciate his techniques of improvisation, here more than his quartet and quintets of the same period.
And there is an outstanding statement of piano in trio with "a jump ahead" which its suspending silences and the extraordinary dialogue between piano and drums is an opening for upcoming Ahmad Jamal approaches in trio.
A good album to spend your gloomy times in a waste land with it.