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The Headhunters: Speakers In The House


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The Headhunters: Speakers In The House
Although it appears to have been self-released in limited numbers in 2019, this Ropeadope release of Speakers In The House is effectively the Headhunters's first album since Platinum (Owl) in 2011. The band continues to be led and produced by its two Herbie Hancock-era members, percussionist Bill Summers and drummer Mike Clark, who together have kept the outfit intermittently active since Hancock moved on to other things in the mid 1970s.

Summers played on the band's debut, the jazz-funk classic Head Hunters (Columbia), in 1973. Clark came onboard for the follow-up, Thrust (Columbia), a year later, replacing Harvey Mason. With Summers and Clark at the helm, Headhunters has been through several personnel changes. The constants have been plugged-in keyboards and Clark's backbeat-anchored drums.

Platinum was a star-studded affair (Azar Lawrence, Patrice Rushen, George Clinton , original member Bennie Maupin), with hip hop influences (the several rappers included Snoop Dogg), and a large collective lineup. Speakers In The House by contrast is down-the-line jazz-funk (going into straight-ahead on the last two tracks), and all the better for it.

Summers and Clark are joined by keyboardist Stephen Gordon, bassist Reggie Washington and alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, who was among the horn players on Platinum and its predecessor, Evolution Revolution (Basin Street, 2003). With no other horn players present this time round, Harrison is a prominent soloist. Gordon is no Herbie Hancock but he brings the funk and on "Over The Bar," the most Head Hunters-esque track, his Clavinet does its timewarp thing with conviction. Guest kora player Fode Sissoko brings to mind Hancock's work with Foday Musa Suso in the 1980s.

The band is tight, the sound is big and the overall effect is unashamed good fun.

Track Listing

Kongo Square; Rockin At The Mole House; HH 75; Over The Bar; Vaspurakan; Stoop; Actual Proof; Stop Watch.


Donald Harrison
saxophone, alto
Stephen Gordon
Bill Summers
Additional Instrumentation

Donald Harrison: alto saxophone; Stephen Gordon: piano, keyboards, Clavinet, Fender Rhodes; Reggie Washington: bass; Mike Clark drums Bill Summers percussion, keyboards, vocals; Scott Roberts: drum programming (1-3); Fode Sissoko: kora (1); Jerry Z: organ (5).

Album information

Title: Speakers In The House | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Ropeadope




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