Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Song Of The Day No.48


by Herbie Hancock (Head Hunters, 1973)

Head Hunters
was a distinct move for Herbie Hancock towards a more “earthy” sound after releasing a series of more experimental albums that tried to incorporate other musical styles and thus helping to develop the jazz fusion genre. This album was another contribution to that genre and to creating the jazz funk genre that was being explored at the time by other prominent musicians. Hancock disbanded the sextet he had worked with until then, retaining just one member, these musicians together became The Headhunters. This 'restructuring' left Hancock free to take full control of the synthesisers.

The synthesisers are immediately noticeable as the distinctive, distorted, deep funk bass-line opens the song and continues for most of the fifteen-plus minutes of the song. There are no guitars at play, except a bass, which makes it interesting how Hancock managed to recreate the typical funk guitar sound with his synths. Although funk is the base, with the brass preferring funk over jazz too, the song has different phases where a more free-form jazz comes to the fore, the synths and the drums in particular embody this evolution.


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