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Live Reviews

Herbie Hancock: Bangkok, Thailand, May 8, 2011

By Published: May 20, 2011
A riveting thirty minutes came to an end when the jam dissolved into "Canteloupe Island." This was more a vehicle for further exciting trio improvisation featuring Lawrence, rather than a faithful rendition of another of Herbie's "hits." At one point, one of Lawrence's standing cymbals fell from his drum platform, no doubt caught in the drummer's avalanche of rolls and crashing cymbals, but even the resulting crash sounded spot on. The exclamatory finale signaled the first pause in forty minutes since the beginning of "Court and Spark," but the enthusiastic applause was proof that nobody was complaining.

Lawrence switched to brushes for the gently swinging "The Times they are A-Changing." The Irish flavor to Hancock's version of the ever-relevant Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
song was provided by The Chieftains on the Imagine Project, and was beautifully recreated by Train, whose fiddle leapt into a jig at the beginning, before assuming a softer, accompanying role to her pristine vocals. More of Train's violin would have made for an interesting extended quartet improvisation, but the brevity of the number was probably the right answer to the epic group play of the preceding forty minutes. A soulful, driving "Space Captain" showed off the full range of Train's voice, with Hancock joining in on harmonies. Hancock's joyously mixed up blues, soul and gospel on the piano as Train's soaring pipes evoked Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

in a celebratory conclusion to the set.

The roars of the crowd were answered with a fifteen-minute encore of "Chameleon," which revisited the heavy funk territory of earlier. Hancock seemed to be enjoying himself hugely on his Keytar, and he and Genus threw lines at Lawrence who responded in short, sparky exclamations, gradually taking the lead himself. Hancock then turned to the piano and keyboards to reroute the jam and guide the band across the finishing line. A group break dance provided a bit of fun at the end as the group bade Bangkok goodnight.

At 71, there are few funkier individuals than Herbie Hancock in music these days, and few with the openness towards music which made this concert, and any Hancock project, a journey of the imagination.

Photo Credit
Poonpat Vadhanasindhu , courtesy of Lullaby Entertainment

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