Letter to Herbie

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Keyboardist John Beasley has enjoyed success as a commercially oriented contemporary instrumentalist, and it is not surprising that he, like so many others, owes a debt of gratitude to Herbie Hancock. Beasley has chosen to rework some of the compositions Hancock made famous in his early days as a leader, and during the time with the funk/fusion band the Headhunters. Playing mainly the acoustic piano and teamed with heavyweights Christian McBride and Jeff Watts, there's a drive, verve, and passion in the trio that matches the pianist's desire to take Hancock's music to a different level. Trumpeter Roy Hargrove is teamed with flute player Steve Tavaglione for the most ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Keyboardist John Beasley has enjoyed success as a commercially oriented contemporary instrumentalist, and it is not surprising that he, like so many others, owes a debt of gratitude to Herbie Hancock. Beasley has chosen to rework some of the compositions Hancock made famous in his early days as a leader, and during the time with the funk/fusion band the Headhunters. Playing mainly the acoustic piano and teamed with heavyweights Christian McBride and Jeff Watts, there's a drive, verve, and passion in the trio that matches the pianist's desire to take Hancock's music to a different level. Trumpeter Roy Hargrove is teamed with flute player Steve Tavaglione for the most intriguing idea, combining the bass and piano underpinning of "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" under the lead line of "Maiden Voyage" and creating "Bedtime Voyage." The two songs fit beautifully in the same key. "Eye of the Hurricane" is rearranged, hinting at the original but incorporating some complex rhythm changes, with Hargrove extrapolating on the original theme played by Freddie Hubbard. "4 A.M." goes into alternating phases from funky to hard bop to staggered phrasings, a very busy and fun alteration. McBride and Watts are enjoying adapting these tunes they also deem precious, using pedal points, complex and driven rhythm devices on the elongated version of Hancock's "One Finger Snap" that Beasley has written as "Three Finger Snap." The project overall tends to lose momentum on the light funk of "Chan's Song," the ballad waltz written by Wayne Shorter "Diana," Beasley's melodic original "Hear & Now," Hancock's "Still Time" and the reggae flavored "The Naked Camera." The pianist himself is a worthy foil for his acclaimed workmates, and in fact has never sounded better. More than up to the task, he is able to push and pull the bass and drums seemingly at will, and possesses impressive chops and witty ideas that flow throughout. This is a fledgling effort for the Resonance label of which Beasley is a major contributor and an A&R man. This is a credible and laudable effort.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/8/2008
  • Label: Resonance Records
  • UPC: 724101899621
  • Catalog Number: 1003
  • Sales rank: 216,991

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 4 A.m. - Christian McBride (5:52)
  2. 2 Bedtime Voyage - Christian McBride (6:11)
  3. 3 Chan's Song - Christian McBride (6:17)
  4. 4 Three Finger Snap - Christian McBride (4:37)
  5. 5 The Naked Camera - Christian McBride (5:19)
  6. 6 Eye of the Hurricane - Christian McBride (4:16)
  7. 7 Diani - Christian McBride (4:22)
  8. 8 Hear and Now - Christian McBride (6:20)
  9. 9 Still Time - Christian McBride (4:08)
  10. 10 Vein Melter - Christian McBride (3:23)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
John Beasley Primary Artist, Synthesizer, Piano, Clavinet, fender rhodes, Piano (Grand)
Roy Hargrove Trumpet
Jeff "Tain" Watts Percussion, Drums
Luis Conte Percussion, Drums
Christian McBride Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass
Michael O'Neill Guitar
Steve Tavaglione Synthesizer, Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute
Technical Credits
Herbie Hancock Composer
Joseph d'Onofrio Producer, Audio Production
George Klabin Producer, Engineer, Liner Notes, Executive Producer, Audio Production
Pierre Paul Engineer
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