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Herbie Hancock: Manchild

If nothing else, the awesome roster of talent that passed through Miles Davis’ latter bands is notable for the stunning diversity of it’s post-Miles work: While his contemporaries indulged in everything from futuristic soul jazz to thunderous post-Hendrix bio-blasts, Herbie Hancock rode electric avenue straight into beat street, with a series of discs that seem more relevant each year. 1975’s Manchild (Mobile Fidelity/ Sony/Columbia, UDCD 706 45:18), like its predecessor Headhunters, and the following year’s Secrets was not just a showcase for Hancock’s stellar groovemeistering, but an object lesson for anyone searching for the sweet spot between the head and the butt. There’s the rollicking fright-train groove of the disc-opening “Hang Up Your Hang-ups,” building from Wah Wah Watson’s greasy guitar intro to a full-fledged juggernaut, and the leadfooted thump of “The Traitor.” Lest Hancock get all the credit, note his collaborators: Wayne Shorter, Louis Johnson, Blackbyrd McKnight, Paul Jackson, Harvey Mason, Bennie Maupin and Stevie Wonder, who drops his trademark harmonica into “Steppin In It”‘s post-“Chameleon” slop.

Originally Published