All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

178

John Beasley: Letter to Herbie

By

Sign in to view read count
Those who don't yet know John Beasley are missing the opportunity to hear one of the best pianists and improvisers on the jazz scene today. Beasley is a master musician, with total command of the jazz language, and his playing is always intense in both emotion and technique.

John Beasley's 2009 album, Positootly (Resonance) was nominated, more than deservedly, for a Grammy Award for best jazz instrumental album. Even though Letter to Herbie, his previous album released in 2008, was not nominated for a Grammy, it might as well have been.

Both albums have striking similarities in the quality of the music and musicians; every one of them is at the top of their game on this album. What comes out of this group of jazz giants is music that keeps the mind engaged and always guessing what's coming up next; with constant tempo changes and creative, virtuosic improvisations.

Contrary to Positootly's collection of mostly Beasley originals, Letter to Herbie is dedicated to the music of Herbie Hancock. The swinging "Three Finger Snap" and the elegant "Here and Now" are the only John Beasley originals on the album, both featuring the rhythmic and harmonic complexity to stand beside Hancock's compositions.

Taking on the music of Herbie Hancock, one of the best pianists in jazz history, is not an easy task, but Beasley and his group do a superb job reinventing some of his masterpieces. Beasley's arrangements of "The Naked Camera" and "Vein Melter" are funkier and livelier than Hancock's versions, while the waltz-like arrangement of "Diana" and fast swinging tempo of "Eye of the Hurricane" are closer to the originals.

Letter to Herbie is an excellent tribute to an excellent musician.

Track Listing: 4 am; Bedtime Voyage; Chan's Song; Three Finger Snap; The Naked Camera; Eye of the Hurricane; Diana; Here and Now; Still Time; Vein Melter.

Personnel: John Beasley: piano, synthesizer; Christian McBride: bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts: drums; Roy Hargrove: trumpet; Steve Tavaglione: flute, clarinet, synthesizer; Michael O'Neil: guitar; Louis Conte: percussion.

Title: Letter to Herbie | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Resonance Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Wanna Get Away?

Wanna Get Away?

John Beasley
3 Brave Souls

So Tired

So Tired

John Beasley
Positootly!

4AM

4AM

John Beasley
Letter To Herbie

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
General Articles
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Monk'estra, Vol. 2

Monk'estra, Vol. 2

Mack Avenue Records
2017

buy
MONK’estra, Vol. 2

MONK’estra, Vol. 2

Mack Avenue Records
2017

buy
MONK'estra, Vol. 1

MONK'estra, Vol. 1

Mack Avenue Records
2016

buy
3 Brave Souls

3 Brave Souls

BFM Jazz
2012

buy
Letter to Herbie

Letter to Herbie

Resonance Records
2011

buy
Positootly!

Positootly!

Resonance Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Drift CD/LP/Track Review
Drift
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Journey Moments CD/LP/Track Review
Journey Moments
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island CD/LP/Track Review
Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Night Concert CD/LP/Track Review
Night Concert
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "Works for Two Chapels" CD/LP/Track Review Works for Two Chapels
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "The Treasury Shows Vol. 25" CD/LP/Track Review The Treasury Shows Vol. 25
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 11, 2018
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 6, 2018
Read "Mutt Slang" CD/LP/Track Review Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Do Not Go Gently" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Go Gently
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 19, 2017