True jazz enthusiasts are purist by nature. So most of them entertain remakes and tribute documents with a certain amount of trepidation. But enthusiasts and or purists alike need not be concerned about the Hancock/Brecker/Hargrove document, Directions in Music: Celebrating Miles Davis and John Coltrane - Live at Massy Hall.
From the downbeat of the opening tune, The Sorcerer, Herbie Hancock reminds us why he was and is one of the most sought after pianist in the genre. His deftness, technique and mastery of the instrument and the music holds this group together with the same quality that he was noted for while a sideman for Miles Davis in the 60s. He masterfully connects this group’s form together and its opening sets the tone for the whole recording.
Whereas Michel Brecker isn’t considered to be in the forefront of the classical jazz idiom, his presence on this record is no aberration. He definitely shines in a solo rendition of Coltrane’s Naima. He proves, that his study of the master tenor man’s style has influenced his greatly. His own contribution to the project entitled, D-Train, is a fifteen-minute epilogue. It meanders through different time signatures while holding steady to its defining rhythm. Herbie Hancock does some of his best work on the recording in the improv section.
The young lion added to the project is Roy Hargrove. The ever-emerging Grammy award-winning trumpeter is no less than continuing the line of great players that spun the likes of Miles Davis. From is his first solo on The Sorcerer, where he begins his playing away from the microphone and hits you with an unyielding fury of notes and sound, the listener will be encompassed. Hargrove’s contribution, The Poet, is an obvious attempt, and by his own admission, to make use of space in the music. Space in the music is a trademark of Davis’. And like Davis, in this piece he seems to be searching for something in the music. His play is an example of his growth both as composer and soloist.
This record also works very well as a live recording. The instant feedback lends to the shaping of the music. This is where Herbie Hancock’s genius is most apparent in holding together the music and its form. Brian Blades on drums and John Pattucci on bass round out the rhythm section and fit in quite nicely. This ensemble did an excellent job of remembering, taking their influences and making the music their own.
Directions in Music: Celebrating Miles Davis and John Coltrane - Live at Massy Hall, is certainly moving the music in the right direction.