daveholland

Herbie Hancock ‘The New Standard’

‘The New Standard’ was issued in 1996 and contained Herbie’s reimagining of tunes by Nirvana, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Sade, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles, Peter Gabriel, & Steely Dan. While on paper this may look like a setup for background music for The Weather Channel, remember you’re dealing with here, and he assembled a band to realize this vision that included Michael Brecker-tenor/soprano sax, John Scofield-guitar, Dave Holland-bass, Jack DeJohnette-drums, and Don Alias-percussion. Have no fear that this isn’t a killer jazz record through and through—in most cases, the most recognizable hook of each song’s melody is only briefly referenced. Then it’s off to the races, as Herbie & Co lead us into an alternate universe where the jazz inclinations of Prince or Donald Fagen & Walter Becker are amplified, and jazz possibilities previously unexplored in the writing of Kurt Cobain or Don Henley are given a day in court. Great record. The first Japanese pressing of the CD has a bonus disc containing several live tracks that are also pretty fantastic. This 2019 pressing from Universal Korea was pressed at Pallas on 2 LPs and sounds terrific—recommended. Long may you run Herbie

Miles Davis ‘A Tribute To Jack Johnson’

Incendiary. Recorded on this day (7 April, 1970) in Columbia Studio B, this record moves even further into rock, soul, and funk excursions that began as far back as the waning days of the Second Great Quintet. Those initial sparks grew into a flame with ‘In A Silent Way,’ fire with ‘Bitches Brew,’ and full-on conflagration with ‘A Tribute to Jack Johnson.’ Miles, in particular, is playing at the top of his game—his solos are fierce, edgy, and take NO prisoners whatsoever. As a bandleader, his stated goal was to “put together the greatest rock ’n’ roll band you ever heard.” Mission accomplished: John McLaughlin & Sonny Sharrock (guitars), Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea (keyboards), Steve Grossman (saxophone), Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Dave Holland & Michael Henderson (bass), and Billy Cobham & Jack DeJohnette (drums). The two side-long tracks cover a lot of ground. Tension. Release. Tranquility. Fury. The lines between what was planned and what happened are difficult to ascertain, and ultimately I’m not sure it matters. Whether you see this is a rock record with jazz cred or a jazz record that decided to party with a rock band, it’s another example of bending the course of music to his will. And we’re all the better for it

Miles Davis ‘In a Silent Way’ (Directions in Music by Miles Davis)

Released 50 years ago today, this album is ahead of its time, even now. Miles established the ground rules of framework and freedom. Producer Teo Macero leveraged technology in music-making that has since become nearly ubiquitous. The band—Wayne Shorter (soprano sax), Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea (electric piano), Joe Zawinul (organ, elec piano), John McLaughlin (guitar), Dave Holland (bass), and Tony Willams (drums)—all trusted in the creative process. The result: a dreamy, meditative voyage as @milesdavis ushered in a new era in jazz, once again re-writing the rulebook as he saw fit and trailblazing a new trajectory for the genre and for himself. This album’s impact, influence and significance in music, culture and technology continues to resonate. Anything with that much power is deserving of repeat spins, discussion and respect. Happy 50th ‘In a Silent Way’—I don’t think you’ll ever act your age