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Herbie Hancock - Mwandishi CD (album) cover


Herbie Hancock


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.08 | 74 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Herbie Hancock - Mwandishi (1971)

Progressive fusion/free jazz

I really liked most of the Crossing album (followup of this first Mwandishi period album) and I wanted to try more music of the progressive Hancock on Warner Bros period.

On this first record of this new phase of Herbie Hancock there's some heavy music. The first track, Ostinato (Suite for Angela), has one repetitive main bass line in a very awkward time signature. The continuation of this theme gives an hypnotic atmosphere. Right in the beginning we hear a very heavy low brass solo with some frantic tones. After a while the band settles the sound and the solo's begin. All solo's are played very well with a lot of dynamics. The solo's are part of the progressive sound, they are daring in both harmonics and intelligent rhythms. Though this track is my favourite of the album, 13 minutes are a bit too much of exploration of one single theme.

You'll Know When You Get There is less structured and has some freejazz moments of wild soloing. The atmosphere is highly abstract and the composition is chaotic. I think the atmosphere is the main point of concern of this track. On side two Wandering Spirit Song continues the style of the second track of the album with freejazz/progressive jazz and some fusion parts, this times seemingly without any clear directions. Like it was completely improvised around a few ideas.

Conclusion. Though the first track is highly rewarding, the other parts of the album slip like sand through my fingers. Where to listen to? Where is this music going? What does this band try to show? Maybe my listening attitude is not developed enough to enjoy this free interpretation of the after be-bob genre with lot's of experimentation, but this should not influence my rating of this album. This is in a way really good music, but this isn't an excellent addition to most of our prog rock music collection. This is for true jazz fanatics, who don't care about the loss of structure in music. This might also appeal to people who like avant-garde, because of it's abstract atmospheres. So.. three stars. This might be very worthwhile if you invest enough time to get into the atmosphere of the music.

friso | 3/5 |


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