Herbie Hancock (p); Michael Brecker (ts, ss); John Scofield (g, sit); Dave Holland (b); Jack DeJohnette (dr, perc); Don Alias (perc); a.o. & strings and horn section
At first glance, this record doesn’t seem promising for the jazz lover. Herbie Hancock plays a number of songs, including numbers by Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder, Sade, Paul Simon, Prince, the Beatles (“Norwegian Wood”) and Kurt Cobain. However, by adding improvisations, re-harmonizing chord structures, sometimes quickly discarding melodies and using an all-star band, Hancock managed to transform potentially unspectacular music into creative jazz
Hancock, sticking to acoustic piano, shows he’s still in fine form and has some fiery solos at the ready. With Michael Brecker on tenor and surprisingly effective soprano saxophone, guitarist John Scofield, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and percussionist Don Alias (as well as the occasional horn or string section added later), the results are often pure jazz and certainly never predictable
Although it is doubtful that any of these songs will ever become jazz standards, Herbie Hancock has managed to create a memorable set of ‘new’ music. A worthwhile excursion!
“When you transpose songs into jazz as he does here, it’s just good.” (LP, 2/2020)
The name of Herbie Hancock’s album “The New Standard”, released in 1996, was at the same time program. For here, following an old jazz tradition, the pianist cleverly transformed somewhat older and very contemporary pop songs by Stevie Wonder, Prince, Sade, Peter Gabriel, Steely Dan and Nirvana, among others, into new jazz standards. “The New Standard” is now released for the first time as a double album on vinyl.
Verve By Request series: remastered, audiophile 180-gram vinyl from Third Man Pressing / Detroit, gatefold sleeve.