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Herbie Hancock Memoir

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just listen to the clip. I gotta go have sex with my mule.

heeeeeeawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Not gonna argue with you about whose talents or career are more valid. All I'll say is that it's lonely at the top. Jealousy and hard feelings abound. I'm sure Page isn't losing any sleep over it. Sure, Beck's a great talent, but once he chose the little Scottish elf as his frontman, he couldn't hang with Page.

Edited by JETman

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gotcha. It's just that that version of The Sun is Shining is astounding. It made me run to my rock and roll history and add a few more lines about Beck.

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spoken like an agent.

No, an agent would suggest adding a chick singer. :g

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IIIRC I met Lundval when he was at Columbia and we were doing an Lp for a movie called Heavy Metal. I was surprised to learn that he was a jazz fan. Dealt with him again when he went to Blue Note and we could stick to talking about jazz. I'm sure he knew who Jeff Beck was. Speaking of Beck: when was he with the Yardbirds? I heard them in the summer of'64 at the Marquee Club. I thought they were going to be a jazz group.

Summer of 64 would've been Eric 'Slowhand' Clapton with the Yardbirds, then Beck '65-66, then beck & Page v. breifly, then Page 67-8

Thanks. So I guess I heard Clapton even before I went to the first ever Derek and the Dominos concert and kept asking "who's Derek? Where's Eric Clapton?' The 2nd guitarist at that show was Dave Mason, not Duane. I think it was before they recorded.

And I guess I didn't hear Beck until the '80s when he was in a movie I was working on. I realized he was important when grips kept coming up and thanking me for letting them spend a day listening to Jeff Beck.

I find it hilarious that nobody's mentioned that when Beck left the Yardbirds, he left Page holding the bag on some substantial touring commitments for the band. Page hurriedly put together a rag-tag group of 2nd rate musicians, and played the dates as the New Yardbirds. When this band became more successful than little Jeffy could ever hope to be in his wildest dreams, he had the audacity to accuse little Jimmy of stealing material and thunder from him. The rest as they say is history.

Despite his talents, Beck's a big-time prick in my book. I was never able to get into any of his stuff, save his holy trinity recorded in the mid-70s. His flash leaves me colder than Holdsworth's playing, which is really saying something.

That's not quite the way it happened. Page was asked to join the Yardbirds when Clapton left, but turned them down 'cause he was making way more as a session player, but recomended Beck. Then a while later Page was hanging out at a Yardbirds gig when the bass player left, joined on bass then switched to guitar when rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja had learned enuff bass to cover that. Then Beck bails in the middle of a tour. Then Page and remaining three original members record an album and a few singles, tour some more. And finally then when remaining originals leave future members of Led Zep play a few gigs as New Yardbirds. If you can't hear anything in Becks playing, your loss, but 'oh well'. As far as who's 'a prick', Page is at least as good a candidate as Beck. As players, that's another wholly unrelated matter. But this isn't really about them, is it?

Edited by danasgoodstuff

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You're right -- it isn't about them. All the talk of the Yardbirds and not about what came after just kind of astounded me. I saw it as yet another predictable slight against Zep.

FWIW, if the world ended today, who do YOU think left the bigger musical legacy. Here's a clue for you -- it's not Beck.

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Returning (in case he or anyone else cares) to the friendly tussle between Jim and me over his "words are toys" remark and what underlay and led up to it, I just ran across this in a current New York Review of Books essay by Charles Rosen that more or less supports/justifies Jim's point of view:

'In his discussion of humor, Sigmund Freud ... after treating at length the kind of humor that allows a safe and neutralized outlet for the taboo expression of sexual desire and of social aggression, arrives finally at “pure” humor, the jokes that are innocent of repressive fantasies, but just simple word games, silly puns that are only a form of play. (I can remember a superannuated example from my junior high school days: “Why do radio announcers have such small hands? Wee paws [we pause] for station identification.”)

'To explain our delight in such foolishness, Freud invokes the lallation of very small children, who sit and repeat long strings of nonsense syllables (“ba, da, ma…mow, bow, wow…etc.) at great length for their own amusement. Learning a language, being forced to attach a meaning to a sound, is a burden to the child, who, in reaction, strings together senseless rhyming noises as a form of escape. Even for adults understanding speech is not devoid of effort, and can be a source of fatigue. With a silly play on words, there is a split second when a word suspended between two incompatible senses briefly loses all meaning and becomes pure sound, and for a lovely moment we revert to the delighted state of the child freed from the tyranny of language. Of all the constraints imposed on us that restrict our freedom—constraints of morality and decorum, constraints of class and finance—one of the earliest that is forced upon us is the constraint of a language that we are forced to learn so that others can talk to us and tell us things we do not wish to know. [My emphasis]

The whole thing (haven't read it yet myself, but I will right now):

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/may/10/freedom-and-art/

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I will live with what I have experienced and will make do with that.

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that's a reasonable philosophy - personally, I will fight to the death.

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Of all the constraints imposed on us that restrict our freedom—constraints of morality and decorum, constraints of class and finance—one of the earliest that is forced upon us is the constraint of a language that we are forced to learn so that others can talk to us and tell us things we do not wish to know.

Change "things we do not wish to know" to "things we don't got the time for right now" and Flip might have a point I would concede, or at least not argue against. Wouldn't have the time for that right now!

An even bigger constraint, one might even say "tyranny" (with the quotes" is the notion that somebody always has the right to allow how you say things, which in turn turns into what you say, period. Time and a place for everything, and I've got a huge amount of respect for "proper" English (and have even raised my kids to be a little anal about grammer and vocabulary, much to their simultaneous delight and disgust), but - time and a place for everything, and that means that there is also a time and a place to say fuck it, let emotion, not logic, guide the speech, and if somebody don't get it and you don't care to be proper about it, hey, that is your prerogative. Make no mistake, that is your prerogative.

If you forfeit your prerogative, then you bow down on that dirty ground. No bow down.

Edited by JSngry

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Sorry I'm a bit late to the party, and a lot (all?) has been said already.

I've waned through the 15 pages of this thread, and have been having trouble deciphering whether Allen is serious or trolling. I'm not a regular enough poster on these forums to know. I just have a hard time taking a guy seriously who refuses to listen to Herbie Hancock's SLaC because the "title sounds dumb" - especially if he's a (jazz) musician (is he?). But this comment was eons ago, so we won't go there again.

What rubbed me the wrong way was the "bland" comment from Larry Kart, and his original 2-star DB review. I just have to give my take on it too (the album), sorry.

The first four jazz albums I ever bought were Miles' Nefertiti, Kind Of Blue and Herbie's Speak Like A Child and Headhunters. They not only influenced my jazz pianism, but ignited a passion for jazz (and both artists) in the first place.

"Riot" and "Sorcerer" are not only postbop standards as compositions, but two pure master classes in piano solo motif development (as a reply to Ben Neumann's comment along the lines of "he had nothing else to do so he did that") and in my opinion essential for anyone studying jazz or jazz piano. His time feel along with those melodic lines and motifs is, as usual, impeccable. Yes, they're completely different to the Miles versions - for the better, I for one prefer these clearer and beefier arrangements - and why shouldn't they be, it's his tunes and his solo album.

"Bland" is also not an adjective that I'd use to describe the dark and ominous "Goodbye To Childhood" or the sad, sometimes even menacing but still uplifting "Toys". They joyful version of Carter's "First Trip" is the definitive one, and Hancock's solos on both these latter two are a pure swinging delight. Even the title track, although quite "smooth" on the surface, surprises you with those gorgeous, sometimes dissonant chord changes. The piano solo is a classic acoustic "funky Hancock".

I suppose a lot of the feeling of "blandness" might come from the fact that the drummer is Mickey Roker, who is I suppose a more old school drummer, especially during that rather fiery period in jazz. He provides a solid, steady pulse, without much in-your-face "energy" - and is coincidentally one of my favorite things on the album, especially on "The Sorcerer".

-

As far as the "sell out" claim goes, the ONLY period in Herbie's career I'm willing to give credence to that is the really late 70's / early 80's disco fluff. You know, the "Stars In Your Eyes" (Monster) Herbie. I'm not a fan of the Bill Laswell "Rockit" era discs at all, but it's yet again a pretty damn impressive feat that not only managed to score a MTV hit with it, but pretty much introduce the art of scratching (even if it was D.S.T. who did it, not Herbie).

Even so, there are some seriously cool moments on easily overlooked albums like Sunlight and even Feets Don't Fail Me Now, in all their vocoder disco ridiculousness. Sunlight includes the gorgeous "Come Running To Me", and one of his best Rhodes solos on "No Means Yes". JSngry mentioned Lite Me Up, it has that superb Temperton-composed donaldfagenish tune "Gettin' To The Good Part".

As a musician, the whole concept of crying for "sell out" baffles me. Is (jazz) music not supposed to sell? Is it only of value to people like Allen and Dave James if the album sells two copies? And like someone said, if you're going to call Herbie a sell out, you'd better do so from the get go: it was the money from "Watermelon Man" that got him his first sports car.

Edited by Kari S

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Holdsworth is nothing less than amazing-though he's had 0 influence on me personally (wouldn't know where to begin w/that approach). Guitar players mostly know how brilliant the guy is, and how well thought-out his concepts. And to do most of it w/the LH-when most guitarists 'overpick'-impressive. Beck was always overrated to me. Beck's Boogie was a bad rock version of Les Paul, w/shallow pyrotechnics going up the high E string and dumb-ass nursery rhyme quotes. He was lyrical w/a great sound, but didn't play blues all that well, and had a questionble time feel. I liked his playing later and generally, but soon outgrew it and never looked back. Not enough of a foundation musically IMO to hang those 2 or 3 tricks on. Peter Green, Mick Taylor, and-stateside-Buzzy Feiten all hold up way better. They took it from B.B. And Albert anyway (Feiten was more jazz-influenced) but did more with it to me.

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I don't know that Jeff Beck belongs in a pantheon. Pantry maybe. Yes definitely the pantry, and I'd throw Jimmy Page in there with him as well. Yes.. the blues pantry. We could fit many in there. Eric Clapton. Keef. I can see it resembling the Marx brothers crowded cabin scene.

Just saw a mini doc/promo for Hancock's Imagine project. Anyone prepared to speak up in support?

Agents?Mules?

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trolling.

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JSngry mentioned Lite Me Up, it has that superb Temperton-composed donaldfagenish tune "Gettin' To The Good Part".

Superb indeed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQEgHOWerlQ

"That's just Herbie making a L.A. pop record."

Exactly. And he made a not-too-bad one.

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More Herbie Hancock L.A. Pop, this one with a definite Herbie-ish movement to the structure, those little melodic and harmonic surprises incorporated into the contours of the overall mold. And Herbie singing lead w/o vovcoder.

L.A. Pop? Everybody's in place:

Arranged By [Keyboard Arrangement], Piano - David Foster

Bass - Abe Laboriel

Drums - Jeff Porcaro

Guitar - Jay Graydon

Lead Vocals - Herbie Hancock, Backing Vocals - Bill Champlin , David Foster , Richard Page , Vennette Gloud

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7/4 - as soon as you figure out the definition of trolling - in other words, by looking in the mirror - let me know.

I wasn't trolling, fellas, but using the language of parody to make a point - which is that Herbie, as Gary Giddins once said, abandoned his talent at some point for money. That's fine, I don't blame him, actually, but let us at least call it for what it was - and the whole thing is personified by poor choice of song title, which clearly indicates a certain defect of the intellect. Because certainly the literary aspect of song titles is as important as the musical. At least it is to me, and I would sooner burn a manuscript than name it after a delusion.

and geez, is anyone actually listening to clips like the one just before this? Crap is crap. Oi.

Edited by AllenLowe

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It's ear candy, and damn fine ear candy at that. Not the best ear candy, but better than much.

Not everybody likes ear candy, I get that. But "crap" it is not, unless by "crap" you mean that it's something for which you have a visceral dislike, in which case, dog bites man, next?

But if you can prove "crap" in any objective sense, as in poor performance (no...), lack of ingenuity in songwriting (no...quite clever, actually), amateur production (no....), then you're left with "crap" just meaning that you don't like it because it doesn't appeal to you.

And maybe it's not supposed to. It's an L.A. Pop album. All the way, nothing but. And maybe it's not too shabby because Herbie actually wanted to do it, to make that kind of a record. Some people actually like making that type stuff. And oh well about that. And it's not an intellectual defect, although maybe failing to recognize a basic personality difference is...

Sometimes it's fun to just go naked in the sun, get laid, chill out, and just be happy about being happy. Mindlessly, vacantly happy. Failure to do this at least once in a while makes a motherfucker get all weird and shit.

Edited by JSngry

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lol

you keep saying "L.A. pop album" like it's a term that has universal meaning that we're all supposed to know.

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Nah, I don't expect everybody to know anything..."L.A. Pop"...that sound (and those players) that kinda get dot-connected from Steely Dan to Toto to Quincy Jones Michael Jackson, etc. Rod Temperton (quite the talent, actually), that whole "slick-but/and-sharp grooving pop" of the day. Very "prominent" sound for a while, maybe the term has more meaning to people who played attention to what all the various players were up to during that time, I don't know. I've not not looked at music through the lens of who the players are since I was, like, 14-15 or so, once I learned that some of the same people were on a lot of records by a lot of different people, and how did that happen? :g

Anyway, all these guys were kind of like a 2nd Generation Wrecking Crew, only the music was not Teenage Symphonies To God. It was more about getting/having gotten laid than wanting to get laid, if you know what I mean.

Me, I'm ambivalent towards a whole lot of it, (Steely Dan, YES, Toto...uh...no?) but knowing now what I do about making and playing on high-quality pop records and how easy it is to NOT "get it right", much less get it EXACTLY right, I've come to appreciate what was being done, and why. I mean, you listen to Jeff Porcaro & Abe Laboriel hook up on that one tune up above, and the slink is definitely there. I like slink, and I like that.

Some people will sneer and call it "slick", like slick is an intrinsically negative quality that is to be avoided at all costs (been there myself, done that, and...yawn). Slick is not a bad word in my book. Slick just means that you got enough in reserve to not sweat just for the sake of sweating, that you have options and aren't afraid to use them. As part of a well-balanced set of survival tools, there's definitely a place for slick.

Edited by JSngry

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I didn't know many people paid attention to what THOSE musicians were playing during that time since most of those guys didn't even know what they were doing --- they were too hopped up on coke!

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Oh, they knew what they were doing all right, some fine musicianship there. The coke thing...well what heroin was to bebop, coke was to L.A. Pop.

As far as who paid attention to them, it was mostly a musician thing, especially in those days when the fusioning thing was in the air (both fusion & Fusion). Wayne Shorter taking one of his greatest solos on a Steely Dan Record? Joni Mitchell coming out of left field with chords that said HUH?, and a lot of musicians who just a few years earlier looked down at "rock" were noticing that there was musically literate stuff on the charts and in the shelves now.

A lot of people who were coming up as players during that time looked at bebop and said "I can never play that the way it needs to be played", looked at the free thing and said "I can't play that, period...nor do I really want to), but heard this L.A. stuff and said, "hey, there a future to be had, I can actually be encouraged to play well and make some decent money in the process". Rhythm section players in particular got this bug, because it really was their world. And off they went.

That was then, of course. Everything's done with computers now.

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myself, representing ... Albany, talked to Lundvall a few times. It came to nothing,

Was that before or after Lundvall recorded and relased an Albany album on Elektra, and what were you expecting him to do?

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it's not a matter of expectations; Joe wasn't happy with that album, didn't feel he was allowed to do what he wanted. This was a long time ago, so obviously I don't remember the exact sequence of events. But Lundval wouldn't follow up or do anything but make token gestures, let us say, One album and he figured he did his charity work,

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