All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

310

Conrad Herwig: The Latin Side of Herbie Hancock

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Trombonist and bandleader Conrad Herwig has quite colorfully and majestically explored the Latin side of some of modern music's most enduring composers and performers, and herewith adds his survey of Herbie Hancock's compositional catalog to previous Latin sets that honored Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter. "It's a little daunting in the sense that these tunes are so iconic," Herwig admits. "I grew up idolizing Herbie's music. His tunes became the new standards for a whole generation of post-Coltrane players."

To navigate this territory, recorded in performance at the Blue Note in NYC, Herwig turned to two old friends: Trumpeter Randy Brecker, who first played with Herwig three decades ago; and pianist Eddie Palmieri, one of Latin jazz's reigning piano masters and one of Herwig's Latin jazz advisors for more than two decades. He also brought one new friend onboard: pianist Bill O'Connell, a veteran of classic sessions by Mongo Santamaria, Jerry Gonzalez, and others. O'Connell and Herwig either split or shared all these Latin Hancock arrangements.

Brecker's trumpet burns through the group's collective descarga on "The Sorcerer" like a flame through tissue paper, while O'Connell takes charge with a powerful improvised passage that refracts Hancock's original tune into shards of melodic light. Brecker's and Herwig's intertwined improvisational passages only send these shards flying higher and brighter.

But Herwig's closing trilogy, a howling ensemble hurricane, is simply as good as Latin jazz gets. O'Connell's arrangement strings tethers the familiar "Maiden Voyage" melody to soft horns that float in harmonic space, the shadow of a passing cloud that gently darkens the rhythm section's roiling sea, with Craig Handy on flute, Brecker on trumpet so soft that your ears hear flugelhorn, and O'Connell on piano, painting brilliant solo strokes. More than a beautiful rendition, "Maiden Voyage" rediscovers this jazz classic.

Palmieri jumps back in to help fire the remainder back up to a torrid Latin boil. Latin rhythms illuminate the sweet funky insides of "Cantaloupe Island," which, after Palmieri's two-fisted piano excursion, culminates in a blazing percussion/horn breakdown; with no piano or bass to anchor them to the percussion rhythms, Handy, Brecker and Herwig are left free to scatter and soar skyward like untethered birds. In a torrent, "Watermelon Man" pours out from the aftermath of "Cantaloupe," highlighted by Palmieri's spirited dialogue with the rhythm and percussion instruments.

Even on just the strength of these last three tunes, Herwig's Latin Hancock presents tremendously rewarding, eye-opening and ear-popping, new interpretations of classic jazz pieces.

Track Listing: Oliloqui Valley; One Finger Snap; Butterfly; The Sorcerer; Actual Proof; Maiden Voyage; Cantaloupe Island; Watermelon Man.

Personnel: Conrad Herwig: trombone; Craig Handy: saxophones, flute, bass clarinet; Mike Rodriguez: trumpet; Bill O'Connell: piano; Ruben Rodriguez: bass; Robby Ameen: drums; Pedro Martinez: percussion; Eddie Palmieri: piano; Randy Brecker: trumpet.

Title: The Latin Side of Herbie Hancock | Year Released: 2011

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Plus One CD/LP/Track Review
Plus One
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "Slægt" CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Bad Hombre" CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Float The Edge" CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "Walk The Walk" CD/LP/Track Review Walk The Walk
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 4, 2018
Read "Live! Rancho Nicasio" CD/LP/Track Review Live! Rancho Nicasio
by James Nadal
Published: June 7, 2017
Read "VISIONS: Coast to Coast Connection" CD/LP/Track Review VISIONS: Coast to Coast Connection
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 11, 2018