The term "electronica" wasn’t in use back in the day of "Rockit," but surely the Herbie Hancock/Bill Laswell team laid a lot of the groundwork for the genre’s emergence. By now, of course, dance music and DJ culture have had a considerable impact on the jazz scene. With Future2Future, Herbie joins the fray, reuniting with Laswell to make his most powerful and relevant music in years.
You can trace this music’s creative lineage back all the way to Mwandishi. Although drum-n-bass and turntablist notions predominate, there’s a strong acoustic presence as well — far stronger than at any point during Herbie’s Future Shock period. He plays Rhodes throughout much of the album, and is joined frequently by Wayne Shorter on tenor and soprano, Charnett Moffett on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Remarkably, these leading lights of jazz share space with leading lights of electronica, such as Carl Craig, DJ Rob Swift, A Guy Called Gerald, and Imani Uzuri. Thanks to Laswell’s seamless production, it all hangs together. Two high-profile collaborations stand out: "The Essence," featuring Chaka Khan on vocals, and "Tony Williams," featuring the late drummer. (Sampled? Live, pre-1997? We’re not told in the advance press materials.)
Track Listing: 1. Wisdom 2. Kebero Part I 3. The Essence 4. This Is Rob Swift 5. Black Gravity 6. Tony Williams 7. Ionosphere 8. Alphabeta 9. Be Still 10. Virtual Hornets 11. Kebero Part II
Personnel: Herbie Hancock, all keyboards; Wayne Shorter, tenor and soprano saxophones; Bill Laswell, electric bass; Charnett Moffett, acoustic bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums (4, 8, 9, 10); Tony Williams, drums (6); Karsh Kale, drums (3, 7); guest artists: Elenni Davis-Knight, Carl Craig, GiGi, Chaka Khan, DJ Rob Swift, A Guy Called Gerald, Dana Bryant, Imani Uzuri
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.