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McBride/Payton/Whitfield: Fingerpainting: The Music of Herbie Hancock

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Another Verve special trio project following up the Bird session with Hargrove, McBride and Scott. This time out Pops’ great-grandson Nicholas Payton and spiritual son of George Benson, Mark Whitfield, join the young bass prodigy Christian McBride for another thematic romp. They journey through the rich compositional fields of Herbie Hancock. In true songbook fashion the trio, and in three cases they break down to duet, addresses an impressive range of Hancock’s music, spanning his days with Miles, his fertile Blue Note period, two of his soundtrack forays-Blow Up and ‘Round Midnight-and even two dollops of funk from the Headhunters.

Not only is the musical range impressive, there is little to argue with their approach to the material. There are fireworks, a la Payton’s finest moments on “Eye Of The Hurricane” and his glib, fleet-fingered improvisation on “One Finger Snap,” and there is heartfelt sentiment, a la the lovely Whitfield-McBride duet on “Tell Me A Bedtime Story.”